Cliff Grassmick / Daily Camera
BOULDER — Throughout a recruitment process that Sam Martin readily admits was at times both frustrating and disappointing, it seems almost fitting his drama kept unfolding until the 11th hour.
Fairview’s record-setting wide receiver found himself in a quandary the past week. Martin felt a sense of loyalty to Miami (Ohio), given that was the first program to offer him a Division I scholarship after being unable to draw interest from the Division I programs in his home state. And Martin certainly was excited about the prospect of contributing to the rebuilding process about to unfold under the RedHawks’ new coaching staff.
Yet when Rutgers came along with an offer of their own, Martin was understandably wooed by the idea of playing in a premier conference like the Big Ten, which the Scarlet Knights will join next fall.
After wavering on his choice over the weekend, Martin finally did something that has always served him so well on the gridiron. He followed his instincts.
Martin briefly backtracked from his original selection of Miami (Ohio), but on Wednesday’s national signing day Martin officially became a RedHawk, signing a National Letter of Intent during a ceremony in the Fairview auditorium.
Martin was joined on stage by teammates Anders Hill (Columbia), Connor Spencer (University of San Diego), and Savoy Smith (CSU-Pueblo) in addition to a wide array of classmates from Fairview’s girls soccer, lacrosse, cross country, and girls basketball programs.
“It’s been wild,” Martin said. “It’s been brutal on me and my family. I know Rutgers would have been a great opportunity for me, but I realized Miami is the place I want to be. I had a revelation, I guess. I really did have a gut feeling, and my heart and my gut were telling me to go with Miami.”
Martin will join a Miami program that went winless last season, but he is encouraged about the opportunity to compete immediately for a spot in the receiver rotation under new coach Chuck Martin, formerly the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame.
Nevertheless, Martin’s contacts at Rutgers made it difficult to shake his Big Ten dreams when the Scarlet Knights made their offer last week. Martin attended a camp at Rutgers last summer and developed a strong relationship with receivers coach Matt Simon. Finally telling Simon the other day that he was headed to Oxford, Ohio was the most difficult part of Martin’s decision-making process.
“I took a step back and looked at it, and I kept thinking about when coach Chuck Martin came out to my house and really was the one who first gave me a chance to play at the D-1 level when no one else was doing that,” said Martin, who broke Colorado’s single-season records for receptions and receiving yards in 2013. “They made it clear I was their No. 1 guy. It definitely was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.
“At Miami I’ll still get to play a lot of those Big Ten teams, and I gave them my word I’d be in Oxford next fall. I told them I was going to stay true to my word and that I’d be going to Oxford.”
Like Martin, Hill at times felt frustrated with the recruiting process, yet the Knights’ big-armed quarterback is grateful for an opportunity to gain an Ivy League education while continuing his career in the middle of the Big Apple.
“It’s definitely a relief. It’s been a crazy process,” Hill said. “Now I can relax and enjoy my senior year. I think I’ll have a good opportunity to play right away there. They have a new coaching staff with an NFL background, and they’ve put in an offense that will suit me pretty well.”
Also signing letters of intent during Fairview’s ceremony on Wednesday were girls soccer stars Savannah Beetcher (Central Michigan) and Melissa Cuddington (Rhodes College); girls basketball players Sarah Kaufman (Middlebury College) and Kate Davenport (Judson College); cross country standout Sophie Lattes (Tufts University); and lacrosse defenseman Sean Lavine (Air Force).
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