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Ohio State firming up Cameron Martinez's commitment after lead recruiter leaves

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Ferndale — Detroit News Dream Team football player Cameron Martinez is playing basketball for Muskegon this winter and Ohio State head coach Ryan Day came to Muskegon Friday night to put the fullcourt press on him, showing his interest to try to make sure he signs next month with the Buckeyes.

Muskegon QB Cameron Martinez

Martinez made a couple of baskets to help Muskegon defeat Ferndale 67-66 in the Horatio Williams Freedom Classic on MLK Day Monday afternoon at Ferndale and then talked about his situation.

“I’m just trying to enjoy everything while playing with my friends and my stepdad is the coach (Muskegon head coach Keith Guy) because once this is over it’s one sport all year,” Martinez said. “Football has always been my first love, but I love competing and it’s fun going out there and playing against great competition, also knowing you’re one of the top teams in the state, so just like in football you have to maintain being the top dog.”

Jeff Hafley was Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach, and the lead recruiter for Martinez, but he left to take the head coaching job at Boston College.

“He’s the reason that they offered me and that’s where the whole relationships with Ohio State got started,” said Martinez of Hafley. “Once he left, I kind of knew it was coming, but just not this soon, thought I’d play for him, the things that we talked about and the plans he had for me … I just want to know who his replacement is going to be before I sign.

“Coach Day came to Muskegon and watched our game (Friday), then came over to the house and stayed until midnight. It was great to see the interest he had in me. I told him of the plan he (Hafley) had for me, to use me as a receiver and safety. He told me they were in need of a slot receiver, that they didn’t have a lot of numbers in that area, and the nickel position, so I could come over and do both of those and whatever works out. I was leaning to defense.

“It meant a lot to me to have Coach Day come over and talk to me and my family and show his interest in me. I appreciate it. He’s a really cool guy. He tells you what’s real. He’s a caring guy too, wants to make sure he has his players’ back.”

Day is expected to name Hafley’s replacement later this week.

Martinez, who rushed for 2,228 yards and 36 touchdowns and threw for 1,258 yards and 11 TDs to lead Muskegon to the Division 3 state title game at Ford Field, said Notre Dame and Northwestern have shown interest and he could take a visit to Notre Dame, but still plans to sign with Ohio State if he can build that relationship and feels comfortable with the new defensive backs coach.

dgoricki@detroitnews.com