Many Notre Dame fans have tabbed Scout.com's No. 8-rated defensive end Ben Martin of La Salle High…
Martin Returns From OSU Visit
Cincinnati LaSalle defensive end Ben Martin took an unofficial visit to Ohio State over the weekend. "It was really good," Martin said. "I've been there many times before, but I got to see a lot more of the campus this time. I got to see the dorms and I got to talk to the players more." It's not as if Ohio State – one of the largest universities in the world – is exactly a ghost town during the summer months. But there's obviously a lot less students on campus. However, Martin felt he got a good feel for the school. "Oh, it's always a good atmosphere when I go around Ohio State," he said. "It was nice because I got to tour the dorms and see what it's like for a student there." Usually college coaches take most of July off. It's really their only month to vacation during the year. Ohio State usually has just one or two coaches per week working in the football office during July, but things are different when the state's No. 1 overall recruit (according to Ohio High magazine) is on campus. Martin said that OSU head coach Jim Tressel, defensive coordinator Jim Heacock, recruiting coordinator John Peterson, new strength coach Eric Lichter, and one additional coach that he couldn't remember were all on campus. "It's a great staff," he said. "Coach Tressel, it's just nice being around him." Martin (6-5, 230, 4.65) has added about 10 pounds over the last few months. "Yeah, I'm a solid 230 now." It will probably come down to Ohio State and Notre Dame battling it out for Martin, but he says he has not shut the door on other programs. "I'm also looking at Florida and a few other schools," he said. "Next month I'll start narrowing things down, but right now I'm just kind of open." Martin gets more than his fair share of calls from college coaches and reporters. Unlike many top athletes, he couldn't care less about the spotlight. Therefore, one might think that the recruiting process is a hassle for him. But he says that's not necessarily the case. "I'm trying to have as much fun as I can with it," he said. "It's all right." Martin would like to take three official visits this fall and wait until after his season to make a decision. But he's not ruling out an early judgment. "Well, there's a chance that I might do it during the season, but during my football season I'm really going to be focused on football and my season and not worry about anything else," he said. "But if I do, if I feel comfortable with a school after a couple visits, if I've seen a couple places and I know that's the best school for me, I'll choose then." LaSalle finished 8-2 last year and barely missed the playoffs with the No. 9 ranking in Division I, Region 4. This year, with a solid group of returning starters, the Lancers could be very good. "Oh yeah, my teammates, we're pretty confident because we feel like we've got a lot of talent back," Martin said. "Hopefully we're not going to get arrogant or anything like that, not get complacent. We just have to keep working hard, finish up the summer strong and just get ready for our season and we'll be all right." Early on, there were rumblings that Notre Dame was the school to beat for Martin's services. But as time went on, there were reports that the scales had tipped in OSU's favor. Of course the question is going to be tossed at him, but Martin is a thoughtful, intelligent young man, and he isn't ready to show what cards he's holding. "It's pretty much equal right now," Martin said of the race between Ohio State and Notre Dame. When asked to compare the recruiting styles of Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, and Tressel, Martin said: "Early on I thought Charlie was more hands-on, but now I think Coach Tressel is more hands-on. They're both pretty tough recruiters, but they don't bother you with a lot of things. They just make sure that you don't forget that they're thinking about you and they'll write you a little note here and there just to let you know that they are thinking about you and want you to go to their school and stuff like that." Martin carries a 3.4 GPA and reports a 320 bench press and 450 squat. He is ranked as the No. 8 defensive end in the country by Scout.com.
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