[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]LJ Martin, a 3-star RB from El Paso, Texas, joined Cory Lemer of Mike Farrell Sports to discuss his recruitment and commitment to Stanford. Martin discusses how his recruitment process went, his commitment to Stanford and why he chose to decommit from Texas Tech.
The 1-5A DII MVP attends Canutillo High School and is the 77th ranked player in Texas and the 32nd ranked RB according to 247 Sports Composite Rankings. Martin has tallied up a total of 14 offers throughout his high school career. Schools like Texas Tech, Baylor, Kansas State, and SMU were interested in the west Texas prospect, showing that he may be another under-ranked prospect in the 2023 class.
Carson’s Film Breakdown
LJ Martin is a 6 foot 2, 200-pound RB/WR out of El Paso, Texas, where he plays at Canutillo High School. Pairing his physical tools with his playstyle, he could have pro-upside with good player development and opportunities at Stanford. Being 200-pounds already, Martin has a college-ready body, meaning he could see the field earlier in his career.
On the field, the traits that show the most promise include a quick change of direction, above-average speed, and the ability to accelerate to his top speed on demand. The trait that likely limits him is a lack of elite top-end speed. However, being able to accelerate to his top speeds quicker than opponents still makes him incredibly hard to catch. Martin also has the ability to maintain his balance through contact. Multiple times on his film opponents attempted to tackle him from behind or push him out of bounds. In nearly all of these scenarios, Martin maintained his balance, stayed moving, and gained more yardage after contact.
What truly excites me about Martins's upside is what he could do as a receiver. In the backfield, his high-level reaction time and change of direction make him incredibly difficult to tackle in short-pass situations. His film as a receiver also impresses quite a bit. Martin is a clean route runner, sticking primarily as an outside threat. He tends to catch the ball around shoulder level, occasionally high-pointing balls above his head too. My favorite part about his game is his ability to haul in contested catches. As a receiver, teams usually schemed to have two guys covering him downfield. Even lacking separation at times, Martin is able to haul in throws with multiple defenders on him.
While not an exact match, LJ Martin plays a lot like Travis Etienne from his high school and college days. Being a threat in the backfield and downfield, Martin could provide unique value at Stanford. The Cardinal lack RBs that also are major receiving threats. This ability could add a new layer to their offensive scheme. Based on his physical traits and what I saw on film I'd project Martin to be a multi-year starter at the power-five level. With good development and opportunity on offense, I could see possible pro-upside in LJ Martin.
The El Paso prospect grew up around college football as his uncle was the DB’s coach for New Mexico State when he was little. Martin was brought into the football world at a young age and started his journey with flag football at the age of three, eventually moving to full contact at the age of six, where his collegiate expectations began at an early age.
Martin had a short sophomore season in 2020, playing only five games but still managing to tally 897 total yards. He dedicated himself during the offseason and came out on fire as a junior, leading him to be named to the Class 5A first-team all-state. After his junior season, he committed to Texas Tech on April 29th. That commitment, however, did not last long as Martin flipped his commitment to the Cardinals just two months later.
“I really liked them, but I did not think they would be the best fit for me.”
There is a lot of respect from Martin to Texas Tech; however, he believed that Stanford provided a better academic and athletic program for him. “Best of both worlds” as he describes it. Martin has fully bought into Stanford and views the school as a place that will help him succeed in his academic and athletic goals. "I just wanted to go to wherever gave me the best opportunity.”
Martin felt no pressure to leave Texas and told me that with the Stanford commitment, his recruitment is officially closed, bringing security to Stanford fans everywhere. Believing in himself is one of the main reasons Martin has been so successful throughout high school.
“Once I got that first offer, I was like wow, I really belong here.”
That belief in himself continues as he heads into his senior season, where he says that he doesn't really care about the recruiting rankings and just wants to play ball. He stated that his main goal now is to build on his breakout junior season and lead Cantuillo to the playoffs. If he continues to progress as he did between his sophomore and junior seasons, he's someone that everyone is going to need to keep their eye on at the next level.