Trieu: Opening brings Michigan, rising star Martin together

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Oliver Martin tweeted: “I am proud and excited to announce my commitment to play football for the University of Michigan! Go Blue!”

Oliver Martin entered The Opening Finals as one of the lower-rated receivers at the event. A quiet, unassuming kid, he did not come into the week as a player with a lot of hype. By the end of the event, however, his name was being touted analysts, coaches and fellow players.

Martin was a major part of Team Hypercool. His skilled route running, quickness and sure hands made him an inviting target for the team’s quarterbacks, which included Michigan commit Dylan McCaffrey. While the Iowa City West wide receiver was already on the Wolverines’ radar prior to the event, his performance and the backing of the Wolverine commits who saw him in Oregon led Michigan to taking a big step and offering him a scholarship.

“A very important element was the number of Michigan commits who vouched for him,” said The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb. “He did so well, Dylan McCaffrey, in particular, was calling the coaches and saying this kid Oliver Martin is a ball player and you should go ahead and offer him a scholarship.”

“All the Michigan guys were recruiting me,” Martin said.  “They all were like calling the coaches and texting the coaches to offer me. They wanted me to team with them. I love all the guys on my team and the Michigan guys and Dylan McCaffrey."

Not only was Martin a playmaker during the 7-on-7 portion of The Opening, he also tested extremely well, running a 4.57 in the 40-yard dash, jumping 41.6 inches in the vertical, and earning a 133.02 overall composite score, placing him 12th at the event.

This performance comes on the heels of a month in which Martin went from three MAC offers to being offered by Wisconsin, Minnesota, home-state Iowa, Michigan State, BYU, Indiana, Oregon and now Michigan.

Martin says he is wide open in his recruitment, as he was largely wide open last week at The Opening on the field. The Hawkeyes are close to home. He played youth football and baseball with Michigan State quarterback commit Rocky Lombardi, so both of those schools are considered primary contenders. But he still has much to see and figure out still in a recruitment that has moved quickly of late.

With Michigan, part of the offer coming now was a reshuffled wide receiver board.

“I think Michigan’s wide receiver board expanded when news came down that Brad Hawkins would not be part of the class,” Webb says. “It is not guaranteed Michigan will take a third wide receiver; it’d have to be the right wide receiver, and that’s assuming they get two of their top targets in Nico Collins and Donovan Peoples-Jones.”

Collins, Peoples-Jones and Martin, along with McCaffrey, would be a dream combination for Michigan.

“With Nico and Donovan,” Webb says, “Oliver Martin is a perfect complement to those guys. His precision route running, great hands, and better speed than he was given credit for coming into the event … He has shake in the open field. I think he can play inside or outside and make a lot happen.”

Martin has already made a lot happen in a short period of time, and Michigan is now a part of that.

Five-star running back listing Michigan

Fontana (Calif.) Summit five-star running back Stephen Carr reported to Scout’s Brandon Huffman that he wants to take all of his official visits before making a commitment.

While he has not set any dates or named the five schools who will receive those visits yet, Michigan is in the mix to receive one.

“Carr is a longtime USC commit but will take all five of his official visits,” Huffman said. “He did mention Arizona, Arizona State, Miami, Michigan, UCLA and Washington as just a few of the schools who have been on him heavily. He does talk regularly with the Trojan staff and it will take a lot for any school to flip him.”

Alabama commit looking to visit Michigan

Pensacola (Fla.) Booker T. Washington offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood is committed to Alabama, but is still willing to look at other programs. He recently visited USC and Michigan is a school he says he hopes to visit as well.

“I’m very solid,” he told Scout’s Chad Simmons, “but I also like to take all my visits and weigh all my options because I haven’t seen a lot of schools throughout my process.”

His interest is Michigan stems from his relationship with the coaching staff.

“Mainly because of Coach Harbaugh and Coach Drevno,” he said. “Coach Drenvo has a great track record coaching great guys. He’s been in the NFL for a long time so he has a lot of experience. He’s a very good coach. Coach Harbaugh just a really good dude to talk to and be around. He’s an entertainer. He’s a real cool guy.”

Two other schools Leatherwood is considering for visits are Florida and Miami (Fla.).

More information

Oliver Martin profile

Stephen Carr profile

Alex Leatherwood profile

Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.