We're back with another edition of Reviewing the Redshirts. Here's who we've looked at so far:
As I mentioned during Prestwood's RtR, Murtaugh didn't want to talk about the offensive linemen, so I jumped at the chance to cover them.
Today, we'll look at an offensive linemen who, at the very least, has good genes.
OL Nick Martin
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN
Height: 6' 4 1/2
Rivals: No. 66 OT, No. 8 IN, 3 stars
ESPN: No. 39 OT, 3 stars, Grade: 78
Scout: No.39 OT, 3 stars
247: 3 stars, Rating: 88 (listed as OG)
Need at Position: High
Expected Spot on the 2012 Depth Chart: Likely second-string
Nick Martin youtube3 (via SFVetA553)
Nick Martin's journey to Notre Dame is somewhat similar to Jordan Prestwood's. Nick was originally committed to Kentucky before flipping to Notre Dame a month before National Signing Day. Martin is the younger brother of starting left tackle Zach Martin, so it wasn't much of a surprise when he signed with the Irish.
The thing you notice about Martin when you watch his highlights is the way he sticks to his man. When he decides to block someone, they stay blocked. Martin keeps blocking his man even after he's driven him ten yards downfield and is nowhere near the play, oftentimes depositing him on the ground. His highlights didn't show him pulling or moving in space much, so it's hard to tell how that part of his game is. Athleticism probably isn't a problem for Martin the Younger, however, since he played basketball in high school.
Here's what Kelly had to say about Martin on National Signing Day last year:
We'll now move into Nick Martin..
[T]he common theme here with the offensive linemen is their ability to move. And at 6'4", 270, he's got really good athletic ability, and he finishes off blocks. He's got a demeanor again. That offensive line demeanor for us is the way they play the game. And he plays it very, very well.
...He moves to the second level very well... He's 6'4". Finishes blocks off. Stays on his feet and takes the defender down.
...Not a guy that's just going to hit you and kind of lose you. He's going to stay with you the whole way.
Great job getting off the football. You can see his athleticism.
And after fall camp:
As it relates to Nick (Martin), when I saw him play basketball, that's what did it for me. When I saw him move his feet I said, this is a guy that would be a great fit for us. He's not only done that, but he's shown that he can play the game of football. He has a natural awareness of his position, even though he's protypically we would like him longer at the tackle position. He moves his feet really well and has a great feel for the position that he's playing, which is backing up his brother. There is a great synergy there, as you can imagine, because I'm not afraid to speak my mind on the practice field if you're not doing well, and Zach (Martin) does not want Nick (Martin) to get yelled at at all, so he's coaching him as hard as (Ed) Warinner is coaching him.
Though Martin was redshirted this year, he spent the season listed as the backup to his brother at left tackle. In reality, Christian Lombard was the backup at both tackle spots and Martin would only be used in an emergency (which he wasn't).
Notre Dame needed offensive linemen pretty badly in the last recruiting class. Martin was a perfect prospect for the Irish because he is capable of playing anywhere on the line. If he's anything at all like his brother, he would probably make a fine tackle, but Kelly noted he's not quite "long" enough to play tackle in his spread offense. Expect to see Martin moved to guard full-time this spring, and maybe even get some looks at center, depending on how the depth chart shakes out.
Martin is facing a bit of an uphill battle to grab a starting spot this spring. Even at 280lbs, he's a little small and would easily be the smallest lineman on the field. Hopefully an off-season with Coach Longo will fix that.
Expect to see Martin in the two-deep next season, most likely at one of the guard spots. The open right tackle spot appears to be a two-way battle between Tate Nichols and Christian Lombard. The right guard position is much more open, though fellow redshirt Connor Hanratty - who spent the season listed as Trevor Robinson's backup - is an early favorite for that spot and Lombard could slide inside if he proves to be one of Notre Dame's five best linemen.
Most likely, Martin will be a backup at one of the guard spots. But don't be surprised if he ends up as the backup center if Mike Golic Jr. doesn't come back for a 5th year and the staff decided Bruce Heggie isn't quite ready.
Center is Martin's best bet to see the field as soon as possible, because he's unlikely to ever get the starting job at right guard and would have to wait until his senior year to start at left guard in place of Chris Watt (assuming he stays for a 5th year). But if Nick plays at all like Zach, he should be fine.