- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
While the first day of the mid-year signing period for junior college transfers is rapidly approaching, things are not settled at all when it comes to the recruitment of safety Pat Martin (Yuma, Ariz./Arizona Western).
Martin, one of the key pieces of Tennessee's 2011 recruiting class, left the Volunteers before the first game of his freshman season, landing at Arizona Western. Now he holds offers from several programs, but is still hoping for a push from others before Wednesday's signing day.
His lone official visit was to Oregon State this past September, and while the Beavers have offered, Martin is hoping to return closer to his home state of South Carolina. He said South Florida and Mississippi have expressed recent interest, and both schools would fit that location requirement.
"I love the SEC," Martin said. "I like Ole Miss a lot, but I'm open to anyone right now. Anyone who likes my tape and their program fits me, I'll listen to. I'm wide open right now for any school that wants to come in and grab me."
If Martin picks up an offer from a school he likes this week, he'll sign as an early enrollee.
"I really want to sign this week so that I can go compete in the spring," he said.
But if his recruitment remains the same, he'll likely add more classes this spring and will hold off signing until February. He put a highlight tape together recently and Martin is hoping that it creates some movement with college coaches. While his immediate future is still somewhat unsettled, Martin is sure that the time spent in Arizona was of great benefit to him moving forward. He still has four years to play three and thinks the best is still ahead for him.
"This was a good experience," he said. "I feel like I got better. At Tennessee, I was fresh out of high school, but now I know how to play football. I'm not a young player anymore. I can go to a D-I system and try to take somebody's spot. I'm only going to be a sophomore, so I'll still be a young player, but I'm ready to go in and get back to that level. The juco process helped me grow up a lot. I'm not an immature boy anymore. I'm a grown man now."