The 2022 recruiting cycle sees an abundance of high-level talent in the state of Tennessee. While Jeremy Pruitt has targeted the players that fit his system wherever they are, recruiting well within the Volunteer State will be important for Pruitt and his staff in the 2022 cycle. There have been quality players in the state over the last few recruiting cycles, but 2022 sees some high-end talent from the quarterback position. Ty Simpson at Westview High School (Martin, TN) is a high priority for the Vols, as is Knoxville Catholic (Knoxville, TN) signal caller and Tennessee legacy Kaden Martin. Martin is a player that we have had the opportunity to evaluate in person a few times both this and last season. The junior has shown significant growth, and he will present one of the most interesting recruitments of the 2022 cycle.
First and foremost, Kaden Martin is rated as a four-star quarterback prospect, and football could very much be considered his, “Other,” sport. Martin is an enormously gifted baseball player, seriously in the discussion to be ranked as the top baseball prospect in the country in 2022, and a jump directly to the Major League Baseball Draft straight from high school an option he will absolutely have to consider. In an interview after the recent Baylor and Catholic game, Martin said that, “The baseball program and recruitment will have a huge impact on where I go to college.” Martin is a legitimate two-sport athlete that will play both wherever he goes to college. As important as landing Martin is to Jeremy Pruitt, he may be an even higher priority for Tennessee baseball coach Tony Vitello.
Coaching relationships will also be important and unique for Martin as he examines where to continue his career. Obviously, being a Tennessee legacy and son of Vol great Tee Martin creates a tie to Tennessee. However, now the elder Martin is back in Knoxville as the wide receiver coach. The opportunity to play with and be coached by his dad is something that would be special to Kaden. Then again, some local players look to college as a chance to move to a new place or find their feet away from their parents. The opportunities for Martin will be there for whichever path he chooses, though he is a talented quarterback, a position that Jeremy Pruitt's Vols badly need to solidify.
As a player, Martin is 6’0” and 200 pounds. While not as tall as some quarterbacks, the lefty sees the field well both from the pocket and when he rolls. Height is not as important at the quarterback position in modern football as it once was, as has been proved with the success of players like Drew Brees and Russel Wilson. Martin has good footwork and a nice release that allows him to throw the ball accurately over taller linemen. Perhaps Martin's biggest strength as a quarterback is his arm strength. Martin throws a beautiful deep ball, with the arm strength to get the ball wherever he needs to on the field. That arm strength is also shown on intermediate routes, where Martin is capable of driving the ball into tight windows with blistering passes. In terms of accuracy, Martin may be more accurate on his deep balls than his shorter throws. He really shows an excellent knack for pushing the ball downfield and giving his receivers a chance to make a play on the ball. Martin shows good footwork, and is able to deliver the ball from the pocket or on the run, doing a nice job staying balanced at all times. When he misses, he does tend to miss high, which indicates a mistake in technique or mechanics that is capable of being corrected. Martin is a pass first quarterback, but his legs are a dangerous weapon. He will scramble to buy time to throw, looking always downfield to make a play with his arm, but when he decides to run, it can be game breaking. Martin is a good enough runner that there will be run plays called and designed for him at the next level, and he will be effective using them. Still, his legs primarily are used to maximize his arm.
Martin will be a gem of a school's football and baseball class when he commits. His recruitment should offer many unique points to examine, and it will be followed closely by many fan bases, Tennessee most of all. Martin will look to be the next great quarterback and baseball player in college sports, following the likes of Kyler Murray, Jameis Winston, and Russel Wilson. It isn't fair to put these kinds of expectations on a young man, but when pressed for a player that most closely resembles Martin's game, it isn't his father. Rather, the body type, clean footwork, and beautiful deep ball look very similar to Wilson when he was preparing to enroll at NC State. Again, that isn't what the expectation is for Martin, but the similarities are there. Kaden Martin will look to change the face of two programs in college. Seeing how he decides where to do his work should be fascinating.