Ohio State, UCLA enter the Oliver Martin sweepstakes
IOWA CITY, Ia. — UCLA and Ohio State have entered the Oliver Martin sweepstakes.
Bruins head coach Jim Mora flew to Iowa Monday for an in-home visit with Martin, and Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer will do the same Thursday, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told HawkCentral.
Those two schools are new entrants into the race to get the state's top prospect for the 2017 class. The source indicated that Martin, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound receiver who had a record-breaking career at Iowa City West, should have official offers from both schools soon — if he doesn't already.
That source said Iowa (led by Kirk Ferentz), Auburn and Florida also had in-home visits Monday, and that Michigan will visit Tuesday and Notre Dame will visit Thursday.
The source said Tennessee and Washington State have also been in contact with Martin, and that Auburn, Notre Dame, BYU and Iowa also visited him last Thursday.
Martin took an official visit to Michigan State last weekend. Athletes are granted five official recruiting visits. Having already taken official visits to Iowa and Notre Dame, Martin has two remaining.
He visited Michigan State with his close friend Rocky Lombardi, the West Des Moines Valley quarterback who previously committed to the Spartans.
All this late blue-blood interest blossomed after Martin's U.S. Army All-American Bowl week. While Martin was overthrown on his one target during the Jan. 7 game, he consistently ranked among the top performers at practices leading up to the game. Here's what 247Sports' Barton Simmons wrote after Day 1 of practice:
"Don't sleep on Martin because the second he catches you snoozing he's past you for a deep touchdown. That's because Martin runs great routes, (he) has outstanding athleticism and he catches everything."
And after Day 2:
"Martin found the end zone on a Tate Martell pass during the 7on7 period and he was sharp throughout the one-on-ones too. You can't even hear the ball touch his hands when he catches it. He's just a natural."
The source with direct knowledge of the situation said Martin hasn't scheduled any further visits yet, but with just two weekends left before Signing Day on Feb. 1, Martin "regretfully" had to back out of the Jan. 21 Polynesian Bowl.
According to 247Sports, Ohio State has two 2017 wide receiver commits, UCLA has none and Michigan has three. The Wolverines' fourth receiver commit, Nico Collins, has an official visit to Georgia scheduled for Jan. 28.
247Sports lists Martin as a four-star prospect, the No. 11 receiver in the class and the No. 1 prospect in the state of Iowa.
Martin leaves Iowa City West as the state's all-time receptions leader (239) and Class 4A's all-time leader in receiving yards (3,449) and receiving touchdowns (33). Martin led Iowa prep football this year with 1,272 receiving yards on 85 catches. He caught 14 touchdowns and scored on a punt return and a kick return.
Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.