- Damon Sayles, RecruitingNation
Cornerback Martez Shabazz (Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley Community College) is preparing for his first junior college bowl game, as his team will play Butler County (Kan.) in the Citizens Bank Bowl Sunday in Pittsburg, Kan.
Shabazz has aspirations of playing in a couple more bowl games before his college career comes to an end, and he’s hoping that Baylor will be the place for him to win those games of the future. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound ballhawk recently gave a verbal pledge to Baylor, choosing the Bears over offers from Minnesota, Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State, among others.
Shabazz, who played his high school ball at Dallas-area power DeSoto, was a key contributor on a TVCC defense that now has four FBS commits in defensive tackle Wesley Hollingshed (Kansas State) and defensive backs Keivon Gamble (TCU) and Cliff Stokes (Iowa State). Shabazz was a first-team all-Southwest Junior College Football Conference selection.
“It feels good, because you see all your friends you graduated already playing D-I,and you’re kind of off the scene for a couple years,” Shabazz said. “It’ll feel good to say I’m playing for a school that’ll be on national TV every week.”
Shabazz, recruited by associate head coach Brian Norwood, said he could play up to three positions for the Bears’ defense, from cornerback to safety to nickelback. Baylor caught the sophomore’s attention athletically and academically, but it was the sincerity of the coaching staff that seemed to win him over.
“The coaches were telling me that I can come in and play immediately,” he said. “I like that they’re up-and-coming team. I feel like I can come in and contribute right away.”
Shabazz also received offers from Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, South Alabama and Lamar. He received interest from Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Texas Tech and Hawaii.
Shabazz used his blazing speed to be one of the nation’s top defenders regardless of college association. Shabazz, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds, specialized in producing pass breakups for the Cardinals and was named the SWJCFC Defensive Player of the Week the final week of September.
He’s hoping Sunday’s bowl game will be a prelude of what to expect upon his arrival to Baylor.
“I’m pretty pumped up about it,” he said. “We wanted to win our conference championship, but we didn’t get it. We were lucky enough to get into a bowl game, so we’re going to try and finish the season off right.”
553dSam Khan Jr. and Max Olson