Iowa City West receiver Oliver Martin took official recruiting visits to Notre Dame and Iowa the past two weekends. He "enjoyed both of them," said Jeff Martin, Oliver’s dad.
And let’s get this out of the way quickly: Speculations that Iowa's top prospect will announce his college decision at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7 are just that — speculations.
Recruiting is in a dead period until after the weekend of Jan. 7. Martin's dad didn’t offer specifics, but he did say his son isn’t done with official visits. And why would he after just two? If there’s been one constant with Oliver Martin, it’s that he’s methodical with his recruitment.
He’s playing in the Polynesian Bowl on Jan. 21, so that Jan. 14 weekend would be the next time to squeeze in a visit.
Now to Iowa, which Martin visited the weekend of Dec. 3. Obviously, living about 10 minutes from Kinnick Stadium, he'd gone on countless unofficial visits this season.
"I thought it was a really great visit," Martin's dad said. "For as much as people think, 'Oh, he’s been there so many times for games,' the official visit is just different and it’s important. So it was good."
Oliver got the chance to go to a practice, hang out with current players and meet Iowa recruits that have already committed. Senior receiver Riley McCarron was Martin’s host.
Martin talked more with the coaches, his dad said, including head coach Kirk Ferentz and Chris Doyle, Iowa’s strength and conditioning coach.
The Martins are friends with the Doyles, but this was the first time Oliver and Chris really sat down for an extended conversation regarding Iowa football.
"Those strength coaches, they have access to those kids all year round," Jeff Martin said. "So the coach that Oliver would have the most face-time with, and thus it would be the most important to have a good relationship with, is the strength coach."
Martin spent the following weekend at Notre Dame.
"It was a good visit for the very same reasons (as the Iowa visit)," his dad said. "He’d been to Notre Dame a number of times on gameday visits and such. And we’ve had a chance to talk even before this weekend with (head coach Brian) Kelly and the other coaches. But, really, the most important part was he got a chance to meet some of the other 2017 commits at Notre Dame, and hang out with the Notre Dame players, as well.
"Meeting the other commits, then he gets an idea of who his teammates would be. How does he get along with them, getting to know them, having some fun, establishing a bond. That was done at Iowa and Notre Dame."
On Wednesday, Iowa picked up a commitment from two-star receiver Max Cooper of Catholic Memorial High in Waukesha, Wisc. He’s one of two 2017 receivers already committed to Iowa. The other: Brandon Smith from Lake Coromant, Miss., a three-star receiver.
247Sports pegs Martin as a four-star recruit and ranks him the 70th-best overall 2017 prospect. He was just named Iowa’s Gatorade Player of the Year. He also earned a spot on the Des Moines Register’s All-Iowa Elite team and was named a finalist for All-Iowa Football Player of the Year.
Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.