More often than not, college football recruiting, and the scouting of those recruits all about projection. It’s about finding traits, finding athletic ability, finding special abilities, and figuring out how they can fit into whatever your team’s specific brand of football is. There are rarely seamless fits, because college offenses and defenses are wildly different than high school counterparts. The expectation is that the recruits will grow and continue to develop as football players, and that they will, eventually, fit into the system.
That’s the norm. Sometimes, less projection is needed. That’s usually reserved for five-star “plug and play” types like Trevor Lawrence or Garrett Wilson. Other times, you have to work almost exclusively off of projection. In the case of Ohio State’s newest commitment, Cameron Martinez, we’ve got a lot of projection to do when we look at what exactly he’s going to be at Ohio State. Firstly, we have to figure out where exactly he’s going to be lining up, because right now, there are about four different options.
On the field
For the sake of simplicity, I’m not going to spend a ton of time dancing around the positional possibilities of Martinez. I think he’d be successful at receiver, h-back, running back, safety or cornerback. For the sake of this article, he’s a safety. I think that’s where he’ll play in Columbus, and I think that’s where he’s been recruited to play.
That complicates things a bit for the sake of a scouting report, because, well, there isn’t a ton of tape out there on Martinez as a safety. He plays quarterback and safety for his high school, and the majority of his tape is at quarterback. There are a few looks at his play at safety, but the best way to get a read on Martinez as a safety would to see him play a full game. That, unfortunately, isn’t readily available.
From what we do have, however, a few things stand out right away. Firstly, above all else, Martinez is a tremendous athlete. He has every bit of his reported 4.5 speed (and maybe even more), terrific agility and quickness, and just an overall excellent athletic profile. He has great breakaway speed, closing speed, and any other kind of speed you can think of. He’ll be one of the best athletes Ohio State has seen at safety in a long time.
Secondly, he looks to be a pretty solid tackler. He doesn’t go for big hits because at 6-foot, 190 pounds, he really isn’t big enough to do so, but that’s not a problem. It’s actually a good thing. In place of those flashy, massive hits is tackling technique that Ohio State’s coaches are probably pretty excited about. He breaks down well before the tackle, and wraps up quickly. He attacks the ball carrier instead of the other way around, and he takes good angles on his way to the ball carrier.
Is he going to be a Vonn Bell level tackler? Probably not. But he absolutely has the speed and potential to serve as a run stopper from the safety spot, and after Jordan Fuller departs following this season, the Buckeyes are going to need more safeties like that. I have some questions about his coverage skill, but I think Martinez has a ton of potential, and can be a future star for the Buckeyes.
In the class
Martinez is the 17th member of Ohio State’s 2020 class, and the seventh on the defensive side of the ball. He joins Lejond Cavazos at safety, as well as tackles Darrion Henry and Ty Hamilton and cornerback Clark Phillips, along with the the Mitchell Melton/Cody Simon linebacker duo. To say that this has been a pretty big week for Ohio State may be an understatement, because Martinez is the fifth defensive commitment for the Buckeyes since June 21st.
Martinez held almost 30 offers, but this was primarily and Ohio State-Michigan battle. Michigan had the home state advantage for the Muskegon product, but Ohio State really wowed him when he visited Columbus, and their concrete plan for his career path was enough to sell him on leaving home for the Buckeyes.
Martinez’s pledge doesn’t move Ohio State up the 247Sports team rankings, but it does pull the Buckeyes within striking distance of the third ranked LSU Tigers. However, with Josh Fryar, Mookie Cooper, and several other targets expected to announce commitments soon, Ohio State is well on their way to jumping the Tigers.