The Legend of Josh Martin

The Legend of Josh Martin

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The Legend of Josh Martin


Photo courtesy of Tamara Green.

How is Madonna (Weirton, W.Va.) senior Josh Martin enjoying his newfound fame? You might say it’s made him feel as if he’s 7-foot-2.

“I’m 7-foot and I’m sticking to that,” Martin, a two-way lineman on Madonna’s undefeated football team, told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “I’ve seen 6-11, 7-0, 7-1, 7-2 written, but I’m 7-foot.”

Martin has garnered national attention — and an additional two inches to his 7-foot frame — since I mentioned him in a story Tuesday about Madonna’s thrilling win over Steubenville (Ohio) Catholic Central. I first heard about the game on Twitter, where Martin and his Madonna teammates had lobbied for Marcello Biondillo’s fourth-down catch on the Blue Dons’ final drive to be featured on SportsCenter’s Top Plays.


The Weirton Daily Times’ account of Madonna’s 22-17 win included an interesting anecdote (emphasis mine):

“Right before leaving the locker room to start the second half, Madonna lineman Josh Martin, all 7-foot-2 of him, leaned over to his quarterback and delivered a special message.”
I quoted Martin as telling me that he was 7-foot, but Yahoo!, Bleacher Report and other outlets were already spreading the legend of the dominant 7-foot-2 high school lineman, citing rumors that he was being recruited by Nebraska.

“It’s still pretty crazy,” Martin said of seeing his name on national websites. “My teammates are all really happy for me and say I deserve it. It feels pretty good.”

Martin says he received a letter from Nebraska during his sophomore year, while West Virginia schools Alderson Broaddus, Shepherd and Marshall have shown more serious interest. Yes, Martin also plays basketball, but he “prefers football over everything.” He posted video of highlights from his junior year (listed height: 6-foot-11) to YouTube on Wednesday and hopes the recent attention might attract other schools’ interest.

Madonna head coach Doug Taylor said he thinks Martin will make some football program very happy.

“With his height, the biggest disadvantage for him is him trying to get his pads low,” Taylor said. “He’s overcome that by being fast off the ball, and for a 7-foot kid weighing 295 pounds, he has pretty good feet, too. He does a good job of getting those ends sealed. I think he could play at the next level. He needs to continue to work on his footwork and speed.”

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Martin has played on the varsity squad since his sophomore year and has been a full-time starter since last year. He makes life difficult for opposing QBs by getting his hands in passing lanes, deflecting passes and limiting their ability to see downfield. In eight games this season, he has 36.5 tackles, eight tackles for loss and three sacks, including one to seal Saturday’s win against Steubenville. He’s graded at 93% efficiency blocking on offense and, not surprisingly, has been double- and triple-teamed more than any Madonna player.

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“When he’s off the field, you couldn’t ask for a better kid,” Taylor said. “Once he puts that helmet on, sometimes he’s even a little scary for me. He’s getting really good at knowing when to turn it on and off and he’s becoming a really good all-around football player.”

Martin has a tremendous nickname, too. It was given to him by a coach during his sophomore year and it’s printed on the custom Cleveland Browns jersey he’s sporting in his Twitter avatar: Kong.


Madonna and Kong look to improve to 9-0 at Toronto (Ohio) on Friday and they have bigger goals after that. The Blue Dons finished 12-2 last season and lost to Wahama (Mason, W.Va.) in overtime of the state final.


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The Legend of Josh Martin

Photo courtesy of Tamara Green.

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