Bluefield, WV native Sean Martin is ready to become a contributor on the West Virginia defense in 2021 after seeing limited playing time as a true freshman last fall.
Coming out of high school, Martin was the top ranked player in the state and held offers from several Power Five schools. He initially committed to North Carolina before re-opening his recruitment and choosing to stay home in the Mountain State.
Martin has a great combination of strength and speed that will make him a problem for Big 12 offensive tackles over the next four or so years. Martin has all the tools to be a top pass rusher in the league and will have the opportunity to watch and learn from Dante Stills.
According to defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley, Martin is coming along nicely but has to work on body control. Since coming to Morgantown, Martin has added about 30 pounds to fill out his frame. Although it is healthy weight, it's something that he is going to have to get adjusted to.
"Sean has done well, he's had a good offseason. The thing about Sean, and probably the person that needs to realize this more than anybody is Sean himself. But Sean is 6-foot, 5 inches tall, 280 lbs and he's probably 82-83.5" arm and that's a lot of body to control, and at the end of the day, he's still a 19-year old. Not learning how to control it, which is a piece of it but it's those, I've always called them stabilizing muscles just different things that will come with time in the weight room. He has to just get strong enough really to support his own body and learn how to play and play big with that body type. Versatility and athleticism are premium but so is length and it creates a different set of issues for an offense. Sean just has to learn how to use that and he will. It's just, he played his senior year I think right at 248-50 lbs and now you're looking up and he's mid 280s - he's a big boy. But he's coming along great, he's going to be a contributor this fall. I'm excited about Sean. I think he's going to be a great player here."
Martin was actually one of the freshmen that stood out to head coach Neal Brown during fall camp but was unable to play in the season opener vs Eastern Kentucky after being ruled out due to contact tracing.
He's a guy that we wanted to play, but he was out. He really had his best week of practice last week until he was out, and he was a guy that was definitely going to play," Brown said following the game. "Sean's a guy that we're really excited about. I like his makeup, how he's worked since he's been here on campus. He's going to be a real bright spot for us."
As for how he fits in on this year's defense? Well, depending on where he ends up taking the majority of his reps, he could see a ton of playing time. Aside from Dante Stills and Jeff Pooler, West Virginia is very inexperienced on the edge. Akheem Mesidor is being kicked inside to defensive tackle, which opens an even clearer path for Martin to seeing the field. He and redshirt sophomore Jalen Thornton will be competing for that third spot on the defensive end rotation. Regardless of who wins that battle, both will be rotated in a good bit and will need to be for experience purposes. Both Stills and Pooler are entering the final year of their collegiate career.
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