Postion Focus: West High Wide Receivers
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – The challenge for defenses facing West High this season may seem simple enough – try to stop Oliver Martin.
A returning all-state pick that caught 73 passes for nearly 1,200 yards a season ago Martin appears the natural place for opposing defenses to focus their attention.
The plan to focus on Martin comes with a problem in the form of 6-1, 205 Devontae Lane.
Lane caught 49 passes for 810 yards in his first season of action last season and gives West High one of the top receiving duos in the state.
With a major college prospect on both sides of the field opposing defenses have to pick who they want to try to contain.
“I’m not sure how you try to cover both those guys,” West High coach Garrett Hartwig said. “That’s a call I’m glad I don’t have to make.”
A four-year varsity starter Martin has already rewritten the West High receiving records.
It took just three seasons for Martin to set school records for career receptions (154) and receiving yards (2,177).
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Martin caught nearly half of those passes last season when he set a school record with 1,1,87 yards and 14 touchdowns receptions.
The scary part for opponents is what Martin has done after last season.
Martin became one of the most coveted high school receivers in the country during the offseason clocking a 4.57 40-yard dash on his way to collecting scholarship offers from college football heavyweights like Iowa, Oregon, Notre Dame, Michigan and Michigan State.
A four-star recruit and the consensus top senior prospect in the state Martin is ranked as the number 67 prospect in the nation by 247Sports.
Lane has gained his own recruiting interest this summer after averaging 16.5 yards per reception and making six touchdown grabs last season.
“Devontae and I had great years last year and we’ve had another year of developing and lifting and I think we’ve gotten better,” Martin said. “We both benefit from playing with each other and having teams try to defend both of us.”
The list of receiving weapons for West High goes past the two standouts.
Seniors Nick Kean (5-10, 175) and Evan Hermiston (6-0, 185) each had a pair of receptions last season but should be in for bigger roles in the offense this year.
With Martin and Lane setting the tone with the receivers Hartwig has seen the entire group grow into a strength.
“Oliver and Devontae are special players but the best part about those guys is that there isn’t a huge ego among them,” Hartwig said. “They’ve got receiver confidence which is what you have to have but all of them are just lunch pail guys they just go to work and we’ve got some seniors leaders that are big for us.”
According to Martin and Hartwig the talent is present to keep any defense from focusing too much on any player.
Juniors Austin West (6-0, 170), Traevis Buchanon (5-10, 165) and Parris Taylor (5-8, 160) are all capable of making plays.
“Our younger guys are really good they are really quick and they will be able to play varsity just fine,” Martin said. “I think this is potentially our best group at wide receiver in a while.”