Proving the critics wrong

LOS ANGELES -- There were whispers early in John Martinez's career that maybe he didn't have what it takes to be a factor along the Trojans offensive line. Highly decorated coming out of Cottonwood High in Murray, Utah, there was a faction that believed he might have been overrated and would struggle to play any significant minutes upon his arrival in Los Angeles.

Tell that to Martinez, who is now in his second season as the Trojans starting right guard, and he'll tell you that he used all the naysayers as a motivational tool. If there's ever a poster boy for perseverance, focus and hard work, it's this young man.

Although the state of Utah has produced a number of fine football players over the years, like Martinez's former Cottonwood teammate and former Trojans fullback Stanley Havili, it's still a small state that doesn't have an overabundance of prep talent when compared to the motherlode of Southern California.