By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – In a span of a few months Oliver Martin became one of the most sought after recruits in the country.
The West High senior rocketed up national recruiting rankings, picked up scholarship offers from some of the most prestigious programs in the nation and emerged as one of the top prep receivers in the country.
All without playing in an official football game.
When Martin returned to the field for his first official game since breaking onto the national scene this summer he showed exactly why he’s become such a hot commodity among college coaches.
Martin caught eight passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns, threw a touchdown pass and had an interception in a 42-17 win over Southeast Polk last Friday.
“It was definitely a good feeling to get back on the field again, it is such a great atmosphere with Friday night lights especially here at West,” Martin said. “So it was just fun to get back on the field and play a game.”
In his first three prep seasons Martin rewrote the West High receiving records.
He entered his senior season owning seven receiving records at West High including the school’s all-time marks for receptions in a game, season and career.
A year ago Martin caught a career-high 73 passes for a school-record 1,187 yards and 14 touchdowns.
This summer the nation saw what those in Iowa had already seen from the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Martin.
He competed at The Opening Finals in Oregon and earned scholarship offers from Iowa, Notre Dame, Oregon, Michigan and Michigan State among others.
In Friday’s win over Southeast Polk he showed why.
“He gets a lot of questions asked of him (about recruiting) but at the end of the day he likes playing and he likes competing,” West High coach Garrett Hartwig said. “That was probably the first time he felt back to normal to a degree.”
The recruiting service 247Sports ranks Martin a four-star prospect, the 10th best wide receiver and 67th overall recruit in the country.
On Friday he looked like it.
Martin caught touchdown passes of 11 and 15 yards and also threw a 17-yard scoring strike to fellow receiver Devontae Lane on a reverse pass.
“That is a fun play,” Martin said of the jet sweep pass. “Devontae and I like to run it. We feel like it has a high chance of being executed. It was fun. A different type of play to call.”
The most important aspect of Martin’s season opening performance was that it helped West High to a win.
A year after opening the season with four consecutive losses the Trojans begin the season with some momentum.
“It means a lot to get the team confidence going into the rest of the season,” Martin said. “It was just great to see the offense moving the ball and the defense playing well. It gives us confidence going into the rest of the season.”