KU's Coaching Staff Was Key

Damon Martin

Damon Martin is the first to admit he didn't know much about the University of Kansas just a few weeks ago.

In the midst of spring football practices during the month of May, Martin – a 6-foot-5, 265-pound senior-to-be from Arlington (TX) High School – heard from Colts' head coach Scott Peach that the Jayhawks had become the latest addition to his growing list of college scholarship offers.

That offer provided all the incentive he needed to start finding out all he could about what Head Coach Turner Gill is building on the Lawrence, Kan. campus. And the more he learned, the more he found to like.

Of course, he said, that early positive opinion can all be tracked back to one, key component.

"It was the coaching staff," Martin explained. "(Not just) how nice they were, but they seemed like a really good coaching staff. They could do their job well without yelling and stuff. They have a no-cussing, no yelling policy, which is really interesting to me."

After speaking with his lead recruiter with the Jayhawks, tight ends coach Aaron Stamn, on a couple of different occasions, Martin knew he wanted to take a visit to Mount Oread to scope things out for himself. So on June 18, with his mother and sister in tow, the talented lineman packed up and headed to the Sunflower State.

While on his unofficial visit, Martin not only toured the facilities, but had the chance to speak at length with Stamn, but offensive line coach J.B. Grimes and Gill as well – an opportunity he relished.

The next day (June 19), he took part in the program's O-Line/D-Line camp, and appreciated the inside look it provided him at how the coaching staff conducts itself on the field.

"I liked all the coaches, and then the next day at the camp I really liked working with Coach Grimes," Martin said. "He reminds me a lot of my (current) o-line coach."

During the next week, he would grow increasingly certain that Kansas was where he wanted to play his college ball, and on Saturday, June 26, he reached his decision – though he didn't commit until the following Monday, during a phone conversation with Stamn.

"He was pretty excited about it," Martin said. "He was happy I committed, and then he wanted me to call Coach Gill and Coach Grimes, but I couldn't get a hold of them."

In Martin, the Jayhawks land yet another talented, versatile offensive line prospect in the Class of 2011. Though he plays right tackle for AHS, and would like to continue playing the position in college, he has the aggressiveness and athleticism to play anywhere along the offensive front after spending some time in a Big 12 weight room.

Martin's offer list included the likes of Arizona and Utah in addition to Kansas, among several others.

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