Just prior to the start of the Oakland Opening Regional this past Sunday, it was easy to tell by the intense look in his eyes and the determined tone in his voice that USC commit Frank Martin (Santa Ana, California/Mater Dei) had just one thing on his mind -- to come away with an invitation to The Opening Finals.
"One mission -- get Open," said the ESPN 300 offensive tackle as he walked onto the field. "That's it."
A few hours later, after turning heads with an impressive performance, that's exactly what he did.
"I'm so blessed and humbled right now," said Martin, who was also named offensive line MVP at the camp. "I'm really speechless. I'm just so happy."
Earning a berth to the prestigious event, set to be held July 7-10 in Beaverton, Oregon, has been a dream of Martin's since childhood, and after his name wasn't called following his participation in the Los Angeles regional in March, it became an even bigger focus of his over the past two months.
"I trained hard," Martin said. "At the L.A. camp, you know, I had a good performance, but I guess there was still a little bit of questioning, 'Is he really that good?' I just decided to trust my abilities, come up here and show out, so that's what I did."
The work Martin put in paid off, particularly in the one-on-one drills where he showed off his versatility by lining up at tackle as well as center, looking comfortable at both positions while displaying solid fundamentals and athleticism.
Martin's combination of skills, as well as his 6-foot-5 1/2, 302-pound frame, is part of what drew offers from over 30 programs, with USC throwing its hat in the ring in late February, and Martin committing to the Trojans in mid-April.
A lifelong USC fan, Martin said following his camp performance that his pledge is just as strong today as it was when he made it.
"I'm 100 percent committed ... actually 150 percent committed," said Martin, who along with Murrieta (California) Mesa's Nathan Smith, is one of two offensive linemen from the Class of 2016 currently committed to USC. "There isn't a chance that I'll ever de-commit. I grew up a USC fan, so it was really always the plan -- Mater Dei to USC, and then hopefully to the NFL eventually."
Since his commitment, Martin has remained in constant contact with the Trojans' coaching staff, particularly offensive line coach Bob Connelly.
"We're building a great relationship," said Martin of his future position coach. "I came up during spring ball and watched him during film sessions, and he's very particular and pays attention to detail, and I think that he can really make me a great player."
Having lined up at right tackle at Mater Dei for the past two years, Martin will switch over to the other side this fall and play left tackle for the Monarchs. And while some project him to guard on the next level, Martin said that Connelly hasn't pigeonholed him to any one particular spot just yet -- not that it's a concern of his in any case.
"They haven't really said what position they prefer me at, but I'll play anywhere," Martin said. "I don't have a preference at all."
With his senior season in mind, Martin has a definite plan when it comes to his training for the remainder of the offseason.
"I'm focused on putting on lean weight this offseason, and just leaning out in general," Martin said. "I'm trying to get down to around 280 pounds, which I should be able to do. I played at around 290 last year. I want to be able to move quicker and to increase my stamina ... just to be in better condition overall."
And in addition to his senior campaign at Mater Dei, Martin has now earned the right to say he also has something else pretty significant to prepare for -- The Opening Finals.
"I've been wanting this since I was a kid," said Martin before heading back to Southern California. "I'm just really excited."