Five-star defensive end/linebacker Chris Martin, one of the top recruits in the nation last year, will transfer to the Florida Gators after originally committing to the California Golden Bears, according to Rivals.
Martin, who was heavily pursued by Florida throughout the recruiting process, decided to attend California in order to be close to his hometown of Oakland, CA. As OGGOA reported early Wednesday, Martin felt he was too distracted by playing close to home and wanted to concentrate on both football and his studies in Gainesville, FL.
“When you’re distracted like that your heart isn’t fully focused on where it needs to be and it wasn’t out there,” Martin told The Gainesville Sun. “I felt it was somewhere else, and I think I found the place. […] I came to this decision because I felt that’s where my heart was and I decided to follow it. It ended up being a decision that my family supported me through. I probably have one of the craziest stories on how I ended up at Florida. It’s been a wild, wild road.”
Considered the top recruit coming out of Colorado (he recorded 11 sacks and five forced fumbles for Grandview High School in Aurora, CO), Martin will have to redshirt his first season because he had already enrolled in Berkley, CA.
“I’m not upset about [redshirting],” he said per the Sun. “I’m actually looking forward to it because it will allow me to get into the weight room and get me in the playbook. It will give me a chance to get in and settle down, because when I get there there’s going to be a lot of stuff thrown at me. Next year is when I’ll do all my damage, but this year it’s going to be an adjustment.”
Rivals ranked him the No. 18 overall recruit in 2010 and fifth best DE/LB; ESPNU had him pegged as the No. 111 player available and a top 10 DE.
Martin could play either strongside defensive end or outside linebacker and is looking forward to joining the nation’s top recruiting class.
“I have been blessed to have a second chance with Florida,” Martin told ESPN. “That was where I was going until coach [Charlie] Strong left for Louisville. Then I made up my mind I was going to Florida again. Then it came out about coach [Urban] Meyer and his heart problems. I freaked out and couldn’t do it. It just didn’t feel right at the time for me with the Gators. […] My heart was in Gainesville.”
Photo Credit: ESPN