Cole Martin has yet to take a high school class, but colleges, digging deeper more than ever for talent, have found him.
The incoming Hamilton (Chandler, Arizona) freshman cornerback already has two Division I college football offers — from Florida Atlantic University and Nevada.
“It’s humbling,” the 5-foot-9, 160-pound Martin said. “I’m happy I got there. I’m blessed.
“It just tells me to keep working, because I have a long time before I have to make that decision where I’m going to go to college.”
Martin, just finishing eighth grade at Champions Chandler, has good guidance and genes.
His father is Demetrice Martin, who was hired last year to be the cornerbacks coach at the University of Arizona and was a standout cornerback in the 1990s at Michigan State.
Cole has spent his childhood on the move with his father going from working as an assistant at USC to Washington to UCLA and now to UA. They moved last year from Pasadena, where Cole said he also ran track, to Chandler.
His speed and skills have been lit up on YouTube reels since he was 13.
Martin has a chance to make an impact on Hamilton’s varsity next season. He played cornerback for Hamilton during Saturday’s first big 7-on-7 tournament at Scottsdale Sports Center, where a sea of players from high schools all over the Valley in rugby helmets tried to gain the upper hand on their opponents.
Hamilton coaches have been impressed in the small amount they’ve seen him.
“He has the maturity of an upperclassman,” coach Mike Zdebski said.
Defensive coordinator Tim Dougherty believes Martin can contribute this year.
“He’s been around his dad, been in a lot of (coaches) meetings, being on the sideline, his clock sped up just being around him,” Dougherty said. “And he’s athletic.
“By the end of the summer, we’ll know. That decision is made by the kid. If he gets in over his head, we just pull him back.”
Senior-to-be wide receiver Brenden Rice, biological son of former NFL great Jerry Rice, will keep Martin’s ego in check.
“That’s my little brother,” Rice said during an interview with him, joking. “He’s a stubborn little person. We’ll get him right.”
Martin is just following the lead of the older players.
“I just try to be the best person I can be, follow the older guys’ footsteps,” Martin said. “Brenden is a great big brother to me. He tells me what I need to do and how to do it.”
Big wave coming
Martin is among a big wave of young football talent that will be coming into high school this summer.
Phoenix Pinnacle showcased 6-foot-5 wide receiver Duce Robinson, running him out with starters Marcus Libman and J.D. Johnson. Robinson made several good catches, including hauling in a deep ball by Michigan-commit Johnson for a touchdown during the 40-team 7-on-7 Memorial Weekend tournament.