RECRUITING: Gators Complicate Martin’s Choice

Cincinnati LaSalle’s Ben Martin can just about write his own ticket when it comes to college choices. The five-star (by end is one of the most fierce defensive linemen in the entire country and everybody wants him including the Florida Gators. Martin visited Gainesville this weekend and came away very impressed.

Martin knows he can play at any school he chooses. What he is looking for is a place to call home, a place where he feels he fits in all areas — football, academically and socially.

“For me, this weekend was a big part of seeing how well I fit in with the players,” the number seven ranked defensive end by said. “I loved seeing the type of players and people they are recruiting. I like Duke [Lemmens] … that’s my boy right there. He is goofy, man he is goofy. He is nice kid, but goofy. I also liked Brandon Siler. I talked to him a little bit Friday night. He is a real nice guy.”

Martin was also sold on the coaching staff.

“Coach [Urban] Meyer is a great person and real down to earth,” Martin said. “He’s a real honest guy also. I like that. He is a class act and shoots straight with you. I can’t say enough about Coach [Greg] Mattison he is just a great guy and well respected by his players.”

He went through a chronology of the trip and talked about parts that really stood out.

“We met with the team on Friday and then we meant to the basketball game,” he said. “Joakim Noah is a monster. After that we went back to the hotel. Saturday we went to breakfast and met with the coaches and players. When it got closer to the game we went to the walk and watched that and then went to the game.

“It went pretty well. The blocked field goal was the best part of the trip. It was a great atmosphere. That was crazy. Every time the players threw their hands up to make more noise, the crowd went crazy.”

One thing really stood out about Mattison’s troops. Martin had his eye on the players that he could someday replace.

“I just liked how hard they played,” Martin said. “Jarvis Moss was playing hard all night and making tackles.”

He continued his chronology of the visit and talked about something he saw after the game.

“We went out afterwards and that was alright,” he said. “We went to a tailgate and got to see Shaquille O’Neal’s RV. It had a big ‘S’ on it and it was pretty nice. I got to see downtown Gainesville. It really is a college town.

“[Sunday] was more of an academic day. They showed us how they break it down in semesters. We also met with Coach Meyer and Coach Mattison. They told me they want me to be a Gator.”

The experience made more of an impression on Martin than he expected. There may be an extra cog in his plans that he possibly overlooked a little when it comes time to make a final choice of colleges.

“It made my decision a lot harder because it is a great atmosphere down there and it would be a wonderful place to play,” he said. “I just can’t single one school out over the other ones right now.”

He’s already visited Notre Dame and he’s got officials remaining with Ohio State and Tennessee. Florida made a big impression and the Gators figure to be in the running until the very end.