Martin on UT

Ben Martin is thinking for himself.

The defensive end from LaSalle High School in Cincinnati has received interest from colleges all across the country. Martin’s peers don’t see any reason for him to travel too far.

"I hear that every day," he said. "If I’m going over to somebody’s house or people see me on the street or just walking to different places, an Ohio State guy walks past me and says, ‘Hey Ben think Ohio State or think Notre Dame.’

"I’ll think whatever I want to think. This is my choice."

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Martin has plenty of schools to choose from. He’s strongly considering Tennessee, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Florida, Penn State and Michigan.

Martin visited UT on Tuesday. He said he was surprised by UT’s campus.

"I had no knowledge of Tennessee," he said. "I had seen it on TV before but when you get there and see it in person you’re like, ‘Wow this is a nice place to be.’

Martin said his interest in UT was sparked when he saw an opportunity to contribute early.

"They’re looking for people to come in that are ready to play," he said. "Hopefully I can do that or be ready to play if I decide to go there."

Martin said he wants to be able to play early, but it’s not a must.

"It’s important but it’s not the most important thing," he said. "If I’m not ready to play I’m not ready to play."

Martin said UT’s defensive system should fit his style to allow him to offer quick help.

"They let their ends go," he said. "They don’t have gap responsibilities. They just let them go attack the ball and let them go out and make plays."

"I like that kind of style right there."

Martin said he’s using unofficial visits this summer to help decide which schools he will officially visit in the fall. He said Ohio State and Notre Dame are two schools he will most likely visit.

A trip to Knoxville might be likely as well. Martin said visiting UT has left him wanting to see more.

"I just wonder how it is during the season or during the school year when people are there," he said.

Martin said he’s able to ignore outside influences trying to push him to a particular school. He said a support team consisting of his coach, mom and brother is all he relies on.

"After a while it gets annoying with people always trying to tell me where to go and tell me what they think and what’s best for me," he said. "Thanks for trying to help me but I have a few people behind me that I’ve talked to about this. I don’t need more people telling me where to go or trying to influence me or telling me the facts."

Martin said he will look for a school that leaves him feeling comfortable.

"In case football doesn’t work out for me and I can never play again," he said, "I’ve got to have some place that I can be where I’m happy still not playing football. So I’m going to make sure I get myself around the right people."

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