- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
HOUSTON -- ESPN Watch List tight end Koda Martin won't be attending the AT&T Cotton Bowl, but he'll be watching it closely. So closely that the Manvel (Texas) High School tight end joked with coaches from the Oklahoma and Texas A&M's staffs that the winner of the game would also be the winner of his services.
"It'll be a great game," Martin said. "I told both sets of recruiting coaches that whoever won, I'd commit to, just as a joke, kind of like flipping a coin. It'll be a good game and it'll be fun to watch."
While Martin meant the comment in jest, he is serious about those two schools. The Sooners and the Aggies are his top two at the moment and it appears he'll choose between the two when making the decision on his college destination.
"They're both just really great schools," Martin said while attending the Houston Touchdown Club's High School Awards Dinner on Thursday at the J.W. Marriott. "I feel like whoever I pick wouldn't be a bad decision. They're both great schools with great traditions. I like both of their coaching staffs and I like winning programs. OU has had a history of winning and A&M's doing great in the SEC right now, which is a great accomplishment. And both schools are just really good schools. Those are my top two right now."
Martin, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound prospect, plays tight end and defensive end for the Mavericks but plans for him at the next level could be at another position.
"A&M wants me at offensive tackle so I would definitely have to get bigger," Martin said. "But I have to get bigger for whatever position I play. OU wants me as a tight end, or if I grow into a tackle, then I can do that. Or maybe defensive end based on what they've seen on film this year. [The schools] are a little bit different position-wise but both schools are great programs with great schools and great college towns and great traditions. A&M's a little bit closer but both schools are good decisions."
Linebackers coach Tim Kish has been recruiting Martin for the Sooners.
"He's a great coach," Martin said. "I have a pretty good relationship with him and he's a really good recruiting coach and I feel like he's a pretty nice guy and I'm forming a good relationship with him."
Recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Clarence McKinney and offensive line coach B.J. Anderson are recruiting him for the Aggies.
"I'm still getting to know them a little bit," Martin said. "They're both great coaches too and are part of a great program. They recently offered me so I'm getting to know them more."
Martin was at the awards banquet Thursday in support of a pair of teammates: quarterback Shane McCarley (Old Dominion commitment), who took home the area's offensive player of the year award and cornerback Tavares Garner (Texas A&M commitment) who was one of the finalists for the area's defensive player of the year honors. The group helped lead the Mavericks to a third-round appearance in the Texas Class 5A Division II playoffs, just a year after they were Class 4A Division I state finalists.
They had visions of a state title in their first 5A season, but came up a bit short.
"I love my team and we definitely made it farther than a lot of teams," Martin said. "That's something to be proud of. I wish it could have ended a little bit better. But it was a great season and we won some good games and luckily I have one more year. So I'm looking forward to next season and I definitely got some experience out of this year and I'm looking forward to next year, because I think we're going to have a pretty good team next year too."
For now, Martin will start getting ready for the track and field season, where he'll throw shot put and discus and powerlifting to help him with strength in the offseason. As for a timetable on a commitment, that's something Martin hasn't figured out quite yet.
"I'll go to junior days at both school and I'm not sure when I'll commit yet," said Martin, son of Manvel head coach Kirk Martin. "I'm just kind of playing it by ear and just being patient with it. I'm still praying about it and I want to go where God's plan is for me. I just want to feel confident in my decision and still waiting it out for where I'm going to go."
5dSam Khan Jr.
7dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough