Martinez displays skills of a top-notch O-lineman

John Martinez, 6-foot-4, 275 pounds
ESPN 150 Watch List offensive lineman
Timpview (Salt Lake City, Utah)

The mark of an outstanding offensive lineman is a player who never takes a play off, goes until the whistle blows and is technically sound. John Martinez is just that type of lineman. It's no surprise then, that college coaches around the country are seeking his talents.

This first team all-region and all-state player has been a starter for Cottonwood High School (Salt Lake City, Utah) since he was a sophomore. Coach Cecil Thomas is excited that he has another season to go with this cagey veteran.

Martinez hasn't selected a college at this point -- and he has plenty of suitors. The 3.3 student says "Academics will be a major part of the decision-making process. Education along with football are both important to me and my future."

USC, LSU, Oklahoma State, Brigham Young and Florida are among the colleges vying for this gifted football player. When asked specifically what he is looking for Martinez says he is "considering schools which have good facilities, a strong conditioning program and most importantly, an offensive-line coach that can help me develop my talents to a top level."

Few high school offensive linemen come off the ball with the quickness and tenacity of Martinez. Still, he knows he must continue to improve in order to have a great senior year and to compete effectively at an even higher level.

"My goal for my senior year is to play to an elite level, be consistent, and lead Cottonwood to a state title," Martinez said.

Playing in the National Football League is a major goal for Martinez. Jonathan Ogden is among the players he looks up to.

"[Ogden] is a consistent player who gives 100 percent effort at all times," Martinez said. "He is a great role model."

In addition to staring on the football field, Martinez plays football and basketball. When he's not practicing or prepping for that season's he considers himself a bit of a movie buff.

"Lots of time I just like to stay home and watch movies with my family" he said.

Martinez has a great motor and displays surprising quickness for an offensive guard. It is no surprise he was invited to play in the Under Armor All-America Game in Orlando on Jan. 4, 2009.

Martinez says he looks forward to the challenge of partaking in the Under Armour Game.

"I am really looking forward to the competition and playing in such a prestigious and first class game," he said. "My family is also looking forward to going to Walt Disney World."

Martinez's Scouts Inc. Evaluation
Martinez is an offensive lineman that never takes a play off. Because of his physical size, he is projected to be a guard at the next level. Quickness off the ball is a big asset. Doesn't have any trouble getting across field and takes good angles. Isn't afraid to put his hat on you. Goes till the whistle blows at the point of attack and backside. Comes off the ball well but needs to play just a little lower do to his weight; this will give him better leverage. Is the most productive when he comes out of his stance with a flatter back and rolled his hips on contact. Stays after the defender on the line of scrimmage and keeps legs moving and gives a good initial punch; lower pad level would result in even greater movement. Quickness allows good body positioning on plays going to the outside and cutoff blocks to the opposite side. Shows mobility when pulling and trapping. Keeps his legs under him and is able to adjust his course to trap the defensive end or to turn up for the linebacker. Sets quickly in pass protection but needs to concentrate on not crossing feet; once in a while loses a solid base. Must sink hips and keep weight back more in order to maintain stability when protecting the quarterback. Shows consistency in pass protection and continued emphasis on a solid initial punch along with leg strength will make him a highly sought after college offensive lineman. Martinez has a great motor which should help him be a major contributor at the next level. He is the type of athlete that is very technique sound and I expect him to continue to get stronger in the hips and legs.

Bill Conley worked at Ohio State for 17 years as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Since retiring from Ohio State in 2004, Conley has worked as a contributor and analyst for Columbus-area print and broadcast media and as a professional speaker. He also published a book recounting his years as Buckeye recruiting coordinator, "Buckeye Bumper Crops."