Georgia Tech has already built an impressive recruiting class and has almost completely maxed out with 12 commitments, all of them from the state of Georgia. But the Yellow Jackets wouldn’t mind adding at least one more special player, even if it upsets the all-Georgia theme.
Kareem Martin, one of the top defensive ends in North Carolina, will be on campus this weekend as Tech’s only official visitor. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound Martin is described by Roanoke Rapids High School coach Russell Weinstein as “a coach’s dream.” And one can see why, what with the 4.0 grade-point average in AP honors coursework and a 4.65 40-yard dash timed by college scouts.
“He’s an impact player on defense,” said Weinstein, who said Martin finished third in state in the high jump last year. “He can play standing up on the outside or with a hand on the ground. He’s averaging 12 tackles a game for us and teams are scheming away from him. He’s three-sport all-conference in football, basketball and track.”
Georgia Tech was one of the first schools to come hard after Martin and that’s why he lists the Jackets as one of his five finalists. The other four are Clemson, Duke, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
“I started getting letters from them last year and I talked to [Tech assistant] Coach[Todd] Spencer a few times on the phone,” Martin said. “Then they came to my school last spring and we kind of built a relationship from there.”
Martin actually has already been on the Tech campus, coming down with his parents to get a first look on an unofficial visit in July. But he plans to take a really hard look at everything this weekend.
“Really I’m just trying to see the atmosphere and see how the players interact with each other and with the coaches,” said Martin, who gets 3-star ratings from both Rivals.com and Scout.com. “I plan on studying business. Normally an engineering school doesn’t have a business school but Tech says it has a good management program so that’s one of the things I’m going to look into.”
Don’t be fooled though. While academics are important to Martin, it’s football that first attracted him to The Flats.
“They’ve put some pretty good D-ends in the league and they have some good ones there now,” referring to the likes of former Jackets Anthony Hargrove, Michael Johnson and Darryl Richard and current star Derrick Morgan. “I know they’ve got a great coaching staff there. They came in there and won the ACC, or at least tied for it, with a brand new coaching staff and that says a lot about the future of the program.”
No matter how well it goes this weekend, however, Martin said he has no plans to commit on the spot.
“I’m planning to take all my visits,” he said, with dates planned for Clemson on Oct. 17, Duke on Oct. 23 and Virginia Tech and North Carolina some time after that.
“It’s pretty even,” Martin said. “I don’t have a true leader or anything at this point.”