MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – This offseason was deemed an important one for defensive lineman Sean Martin.
Once looked at as one of the premier high school football talents in the state of West Virginia, Martin is in his third season with the Mountaineers.
After primarily playing on special teams as a true-freshman, the Bluefield native saw more of the field last season. But there was still work to be done, according to coaches, in order for Martin to reach his potential and become the player that the coaching staff believes he is capable of being.
Prior to this season, defensive line coach Andrew Jackson said Martin was, “going to play everywhere” on the line.
Two game into this season, Martin has not only played, but he has produced. And it’s caught the attention of his head coach.
“Sean Martin deserves to play more at defensive end. He will play more,” Neal Brown said Tuesday. “Maybe even start in the game. He deserves to play more.”
Martin was credited with two of West Virginia’s three tackles for loss against Kansas. Those two stops behind the line of scrimmage were part of a career-best four-tackle day for the sophomore.
Through two games, Martin is one of just four players on the WVU roster who has recorded at least one sack. He is also the team leader with three tackles for loss.
“What I really focused on this summer was just staying consistent, and just focusing on the fundamentals of just using my hands, footwork, just doing the little things,” Martin said.
His head coach mentioned him, specifically, Tuesday after listing some of the shortcomings of the play of the defensive line so far this season. Brown, however, spoke of Martin as a player who has done the right things, and as someone deserving of more playing time.
“My mom always tells me to take advantage of my opportunities,” Martin said. “The coaches always speak on it. I just got to do the right things, and do the little things, and get better each and every day.”
Getting to this point is more than two years in the making.
Martin says it took him a while to adapt and adjust to college football. He has added weight and strength, which have also instilled confidence.
He has that confidence, and a sense of normalcy, back after dealing with a broken finger for part of training camp.
“I really didn’t perform the last two weeks of camp, because I was too worried about my hand,” said the sophomore. “Being able to take the club off, I feel normal now.”
Martin played in the Backyard Brawl with the so-called club on his left hand, but was able to play without it against the Jayhawks. His play in that game has gotten him an opportunity to potentially be on the field even more against Towson (2-0).
While, individually, Saturday can prove to be a big moment in Martin’s career, it’s also an opportunity for the Mountaineers, as a team, to turn things around.
“I feel like our confidence is still high. We just got to focus on getting a win. Getting over the loss, and just take each week by week,” Martin said. “It’s just playing ball. Not focussing on wins and losses, just play as a team and we’ll win.”
West Virginia (0-2, 0-1 Big 12) hosts Towson at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be televised on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.