Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins was a big fan of running back Antonio Martin Jr. early on, offering him a scholarship in 2019 when Martin was just a sophomore. When I seen the offers that Martin had as well as the one from Georgia Tech, I thought that there was no shot at the Yellow Jackets grabbing him. He had offers from high-profile schools like Alabama, Miami, Michigan, and Tennessee. But Georgia Tech fans would breathe a sigh of relief when the four-star recruit announced last February where he would be playing his college football at: Bobby Dodd Stadium. He wound up being the most high profile player in the 2022 recruiting class for the Yellow Jackets and only one of the two four-star recruits to join the Yellow Jackets this spring. So what should fans know about the incoming freshman?
Martin stands at 5’11, 215 pounds and is a Georgia-native, playing his high school ball in Fairburn at Langston Hughes High School. He stayed on the bench and learned during is freshman season with the Panthers, but became an overnight sensation during his sophomore season. He was the focal point of the Panthers offense, rushing for 1,535 yards and 16 touchdowns. Although the team went 2-8 that season, Martin started to receive scholarships.
Heading into the 2020 season, Antonio Martin was set to make a huge splash onto the national scene, but he would get sidelined with an injury after just five games. In those five games, Martin was still able to rush for 535 yards and seven touchdowns. He would watch as his team went on to be in the final eight in the state playoffs that season, ultimately losing to the eventual state champions Buford Wolves.
Antonio Martin Jr. used the injury as fuel for his senior season, as he would eclipse 1,000 rushing yards again, this time finishing with 1,114 and 16 touchdowns. The Panthers would make the playoffs yet again, as Martin led the team to 13 straight victories, including a berth in the GHSA AAAAAA High School Championship Game against a familiar opponent: the Buford Wolves. In his first four playoff games, Martin would reach the end zone a combined eight times and rush for a total of 447 yards to set up the championship game with the Wolves. The Panthers used Martin to his full potential in the game, amassing 161 yards and a pair of scores that would put the Panthers up 20-14 heading into the fourth quarter. Ultimately, the Panthers would have their hearts broke as the Wolves scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to take a 21-20 lead. Although the Panthers were able to get in field goal range to attempt a last-second field goal, it was blocked as time expired.
In the annual White & Gold spring game, Martin was a featured back along with Dontae Smith and Hassan Hall. Martin has a usual frame of Georgia Tech running backs of the past such as Jonathan Dwyer and Tashard Choice: shorter than average, but also stronger than average. Martin will likely see significant playing time this season and as long as he stays at the Flats, he should be given opportunities to showcase his talents for the White and Gold.
For highlights of Antonio Martin’s high school career, click here.