JASPER — At 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds, Jhebari Martin is hard to miss.
Hamilton County’s senior offensive and defensive lineman is starting to attract some attention from college recruiters, intrigued not only by his size by his other attributes as well.
“He’s gotten some attention because of his size,” coach Richard Vester said. “College recruiters in the spring have asked about him.”
Martin has also been to about four prospect camps, which are held by colleges and universities.
“I’ve been to Valdosta State and Florida State University,” he said. “I worked with offensive lineman, and some offensive coordinators.”
Vester said Martin got a lot of “good press” from the camps, and during the season recruiters will want to see game film of him.
HCHS offensive line coach Tyler Stevens said Martin had a good spring game, and has put in a lot of work in the offseason.
“The camps have helped him a lot,” he said. “He’s shown his flexibility, strength and explosion.”
That flexibility, strength and explosion will come in handy for the Trojans this fall. In addition to playing the offensive line, where he is counted on to be the key cog in the Hamilton County line, Martin has also caught his coaches’ attention with his ability to play defensive end as well.
Martin is still “learning” how to play defense, “but he’s got good instincts,” coaches said.
Offensively, Martin said he’s responsible for, “making key blocks every play,” whether it’s a run or a pass block. “But I’m good at both.
“And I like making pancakes on a running block; it’s when you take that linebacker and just shove him into the dirt, and keep running your feet, and he’s feeling all that pressure when you fall on top of him. It’s the best feeling in the world.”
Martin must have felt that Friday night in the opening game loss to Lafayette High. There was a loud crack, and people in the stands “oohed,” and there was Martin standing over a defensive player he’d just put on the ground.
Stevens describes Martin as “a mauler,” who’s better at run blocking. For pass blocking, Martin works on “his focus, sliding your feet, and getting to the places you’re supposed to be.”
The Trojan coaches also pointed out he’s “very intelligent and a very coachable kid who lifts weights and is strong.”
That strength comes in handy as Stevens said the coaches want Martin to “show great movement. We rely on him to break down block, push downfield, and create a good lane for our running backs.”
Martin is happy to oblige.
“I’ll do whatever helps my team; going out and fighting hard for my teammates. And going all out,” he said, and on defense. “I like playing hard every play, making tackles and celebrating with my teammates.”
After football season, Martin said he plans to play both varsity baseball and basketball this year.
He said his goals this year include, “staying in shape, keeping grades right, being humble, and doing what the coach tells me to do.”
And when the time comes, Martin prefers to stay in Florida, naming the University of Florida as a top choice.
“If he continues with good grades, and doing what he’s supposed to do, somebody is going to be lucky to get him,” Vester said.