Cincinnati LaSalle DE/MLB Ben Martin received a bid
earlier today to participate in the 2007 U.S. Army
All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January.
In front of the LaSalle student
body, Martin (6-5, 255) was recognized for his
accomplishments by the Army and LaSalle as well as
former Cincinnati Bengal and NFL Hall of Famer
Anthony Munoz and current Bengal Andrew Whitworth.
“I am kind of on cloud nine
right now. I still can’t believe it,” said Martin.
“It is a great honor to be selected from countless
high school players and I feel real honored. I feel
thankful for what I have right now and what I have
been blessed with. I can’t thank my coaches and my
mom and everybody who helped me get to this point
enough. It is all because of them I am what I am
Martin, who is currently ranked
by Ohio High magazine as the top senior in Ohio and
is rated by Scout.com as the No. 38 overall prospect
in the country, is one of 80 players selected
nationwide for the game.
“I think it is great
recognition for the young men,” said Munoz. "For
Ben, it is the national spotlight. He gets to go out
there and play on NBC with 80 of the top high school
“And the fact that the Army is
involved in this speaks volumes. The Army is here
trying to help young people with all the things they
talk about with commitment and teamwork. As far as
LaSalle High School and Ben Martin, it is a great
opportunity for them to be in the national spotlight
it is a great opportunity as Ben finishes high
school and moves onto college.
Martin did not start playing
football until he was a freshman in high school and
is taken aback that he is now an All-American.
Martin never expected All-American
“Most guys have played all
their lives and they don’t get this kind of
recognition, so I guess I just got lucky,” he said.
As one of the top players in
the country, Martin is getting recruited by all the
heavy hitters in college football but has narrowed
his decision down to Ohio State, Notre Dame and
He is scheduled to visit South
Bend this weekend.
“I am planning on visiting all
the schools,” he said. “It is a tough process to go
through right now and I am just trying to nail
things down and make it not as confusing as possible
to try to find a place where I can fit in for the
next three or four years.
“After I make all my visits and
I can just see myself playing and being around the
people there, I will probably decide,” he added.
“For me, they are all kind of neck-and-neck with
each other. I have been to the schools but I haven’t
been involved enough in each program yet to feel
like I am real comfortable in one particular spot
yet. I am just going to take my visits and see how
(L-R) Anthony Munoz, Ben Martin,
LaSalle head coach Tom Grippa, Cincinnati Bengal
While he projects as a
defensive end at the next level, Martin has been
moved to middle linebacker this season and is still
learning the position.
“I am a lot better than I was
the first week but I am still not where I want to be
with my reads and things. But it is clicking a lot
better now,” he said. “So, I think I am better than
I am but I could always get a lot better. Hopefully
I will be better this week than last week and lead
my team to a victory.”
LaSalle faces a tough challenge
this week in Cincinnati St. Xavier (5-1). The
Bombers only loss this season was a 25-22 overtime
loss to Lakeland (Fla.) in the Kirk Herbstreit Ohio
vs. USA Challenge. Lakeland is currently ranked No.
3 in the country by USA Today.
“St. X is a great team. You
can’t take anything away from them – great backs,
great offensive line,” Martin said. “It is going to
be a dogfight. They are not coming in laying down
and we’re not going to lay down either. I am
prepared for a fight. It is going to be a tough game
and probably come down to the last few minutes or
seconds of the game. It will be up to us to make big
plays and just try to hold them down.”
LaSalle is currently 3-3 on the
In addition to excelling on the
gridiron, Martin carries a 3.4 GPA.
“When you look at student
athletes, you want to look at more than just there
athletic ability,” said Munoz. “You want to look at
the total person. And even in today’s sports you
hear about those who step out of line. But I think
this is very important because you have the whole
student body here and his classmates and everyone is
looking up to him. You have to realize as an athlete
that people are looking up to you and you are a role
model regardless of whether you like that term or
not. You’re a role model not only to teammates but
to siblings and the community.
“It is a pretty awesome
responsibility that you have so I think the fact
that you can conduct yourself with class and
character and integrity on the field as well as off
the field means a lot.”