(Player Spotlight) - Jeff Martin #52 - Center, Defensive End, and Specialty Teams. *Ironman Player. *Two-way Starter
Jeff was our starting center and defensive end. He was a two-way player who rarely left the field. He was the smallest trencher on the offensive line at 5'9", 170 lbs. but his size did not dictate his play. He was a tenacious competitor. I played football with Jeff for five years, and he played on three undefeated teams. The teams Jeff played on went 45-4-2. He was a very good center and played his heart out on the gridiron. The center is not an easy position, as you have to line up, hike the ball, and defend at the same time. Jeff was our best technical lineman in 1984. He was skilled and aggressive and stood his ground against much larger nose guards, linebackers, and defensive linemen. He knew the tricks to use against them to gain an upper hand. Jeff was an important member of our undefeated team. He was a proud Viking who never let up on the gridiron, even when he was hurt. If Jeff got beat on a play he dug in and worked harder so it did not happen again. Whether it was opening a hole, containing a defender, pass protection, or forcing the run inward on defense, Jeff never failed. Because he was a small trencher Jeff lifted weights regularly to compensate for his size. If Jeff faced a stronger or more athletic opponent, he used his gridiron experience to outthink them. In the summer of 1984 prior to our senior year, Jeff joined a group of us doing drills and running wind sprints to get in shape for the upcoming season. Jeff was my compadre and I am proud he was a member of the trench crew. If we could play football again Jeff would be my choice for center because no one played with more grit. He was willing to give it his all every play. Thanks for the memories, Jeff. You took names.