Devin Martinez and many of his teammates and classmates at his National Letter of Intent signing at the Belton Multipurpose Athletic Center on Dec. 19. (Photo Credit: Tony Adams, Sports Editor, The Belton Journal)
On Wednesday, December 19, the Belton High School Multipurpose Athletic Center was the fitting backdrop for the National Letter of Intent signing for a top-notch Belton Tiger athlete to make his commitment to a Division I school.
It’s every athlete’s dream to go Division I. That dream came true for Tiger defensive end Devin Martinez on that Wednesday in December.
Martinez signed his NLOI attend Texas State University in San Marcos and play football for new Bobcats head coach Jake Spavital. He joins Belton alumnus Mitchell Dunahoo, who is currently a freshman on the Bobcats’ football squad.
“Texas State felt like home,” Martinez said. “It’s just like Belton and it’s big on football. And it’s close to home, that’s why I chose there.”
The epitome of hard work, dedication to excellence, Martinez transformed himself from undersized defensive lineman as a sophomore to speedy, 235-pound defensive end.
Teams had to game plan for him 2017 as an inside defensive tackle. When the Tigers turned the page to 2018, Martinez was at his natural position at defensive end.
What happened was a performance against state football power Austin Westlake that woke everyone up. Not that college recruiters weren’t already noticing No. 3 ripping up the football field in August already.
Martinez simply displayed why he was one of the preeminent defensive tackles of the 2019 class. He terrorized Westlake’s blue-chip quarterback Taylor Anderson and the Chapparals’ offensive line all game long. Though the scoreboard showed 38-17 in favor of the Chaps, Martinez registered his best game up to that point. He logged seven tackles (six solo), had four tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries, and three quarterback sacks.
After many teams adjusted their offensive line blocking schemes to account for his ferocious pass rush and uncanny ability to find the ball, Martinez finished 2018 with 58 tackles (42 solo), 15 quarterback hurries, 11 tackles for loss, and seven quarterback sacks.
The Temple game may not have been his best from a statistical standpoint (six tackles, two hurries), but in Martinez’s eyes, it was one of the games that helped prepare him for the next level.”
“The Temple game felt just like a college game,” Martinez said. “The atmosphere, the game itself. It is something that you just have to deal with.”
For his efforts in 2018, Martinez was named First Team District 12-6A Defensive End. He added that accolade to his 2017 District 8-6A Second Team Defensive Tackle honors.
Not a bad way to end a four-year stint in the Belton Football program.
“Belton Football is like family,” Martinez said. “Every year, we got closer.”
Martinez’s transformation was aided by his strong performance at the Region 2 Division 1 Powerlifting Championships in 220-lb. class on March 10. Lifting at 213 pounds, Martinez squatted 515 pounds, bench pressed 310 pounds, and dead lifted 500 pounds for a total of 1,325 pounds. It was a personal record, and just the midstream of a solid 2018 leading up to spring football.
From open weight rooms to helping contribute to Belton’s 7-On-7 program, and from a State Qualifying Powerlifter in the 220-lb. weight class to being a solid track-and-field athlete for the Tigers,
Martinez was also a distance runner in his early days at Belton High School and was a two-time district champion as a freshman.
Martinez is a solid representation on what it takes to be a performer heading to the next level.
Uncommitted to a major as of yet, Martinez’s intention is to take his basic courses and adjust to college life. Being a multi-sport athlete, Martinez’s has found that perfect balance of athletics and academics.
“I use athletics to motivate me in my academics, and academics to motivate me towards athletics,” Martinez said. “If I fail at academics, I don’t get to perform at athletics. If I don’t have a good workout or perform well, it makes my mind foggy in my academics and other things.”
The Belton Tigers lineage to the collegiate ranks moves on and Devin Martinez’s commitment to play in San Marcos helps lay further foundation for the lineage.
Devin Martinez inks his National Letter of Intent on Dec. 19 at the Belton Multipurpose Athletic Center. Martinez made his intent to attend and play football at Texas State in San Marcos. (Photo Credit: Tony Adams, Sports Editor, The Belton Journal.)