Apopka Football produces talented Division I prospects year after year. Heading into the 2021 season, there are several former Blue Darters that are in the college ranks, and the upcoming season promises to produce more talented college prospects, including UCF Football commitment Nikai Martinez.
The high school season is almost here, and Apopka Football brought Martinez and a handful of its key members to the Varsity Sports Network Orlando Media Day. It presented an opportunity to sit down and discuss a couple of interesting topics with the talented athlete that one year from now will be wearing a UCF uniform.
Vitals: 5’11”, 175-pounds
High School: Apopka (Fla.) High School
Recruitment: Committed to UCF
What’s something about UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn that people may not know about?
“Coach Gus, he’s actually like a cool man,” Martinez said without hesitation. “A good person, has a great family, great wife. He takes care of everybody. Everybody thinks that Coach Gus is just a coach, but Coach Gus really cares about the players and treats everybody like they are his sons.
“People really think that I just met him, but he offered me my freshman year (when he was the Head Coach for Auburn). Coach Gus and I already had that connection before he even got to UCF. Him coming to UCF was just really like a bonus. Auburn was one of my top schools because of Coach Gus and what he does, the tradition, but a lot of people don’t know his Wife, Kristi, they all genuine people. They care for everybody.”
You are going to play cornerback, but has Coach Travis Williams talked to you about playing nickel cornerback?
“Nickel, really, nickel and corner I could rotate. They really want me to learn both of them. Learning how to play both, and just learning the playbook at UCF, it gives me a chance to get on the field. So knowing that nickel position, and the coaches already told me like nickel and cornerback, those are the positions (for me). Even if I have to learn safety reps, I’ll do that, too, but nickel and cornerback, those are the main positions right now.
Has UCF said anything to you about your weight in regards to adding mass?
“The thing I like about the coaches there (at UCF), they don’t care about that. If you are a dog, you are a dog. They told me straight up, if I was 5’9” they still wouldn’t care because they know what type of dog I am and they know how I perform on the field. So, they are not into you have to be 6’0” or whatever, you gotta weigh 200, they don’t care.
“Of course they are going to build me up when I get there (to UCF), but how I am now, they love me for who I am right now. If I was 5’9” they would still show that same love.”
What is the relationship you have with Travis Williams, the UCF Defensive Coordinator?
“I have a cool relationship with T-Will. We talk every once in a while. He’s just a cool dude. All of them cool dudes. He tried to rap while I was there, but he can actually rap though. I didn’t know that he could actually rap. Like he could really rap (laughing).
“He’s a good coach, a good person, has great energy. So, that’s basically what I need in a coach. I can’t ask for anything else really.”
Was your mom happy that you decided to stay close to home?
“Oh yes. She was really happy. She was really happy because I caught her off guard. Like, we talked about it (me going to UCF), but like I threw hints. My mom was like UCF, UCF, like as soon as Coach Gus got there.
“I was really like UCF? I took my visit, and I was like, UCF! I knew then and there that this is where I am going to be at.”
For this upcoming season, talk about a personal goal.
“Really, my personal goal is to just make sure the kids behind me are straight, like when I leave they know they are already up to date and they can be, not the next Nikai Martinez, but they can make a name for themselves.
“I did what I had to do. I’m committed, I’m going to college. I’m really trying to make sure that everybody is straight for college, so they have that same mindset. I want to be the example, like you can do it. It doesn’t matter what you do, you can do it. If you work, you going to get rewarded. So that’s really my goal for this year, it’s being a better leader and helping the young guys out there. Like, show them the way. This can be done, you just gotta work.
There will be several more updates from the Orlando Media Day by the end of Sunday, so stay tuned to Inside The Knights.