Muskegon head coach Shane Fairfield has known Cameron Martinez for a long time. So not much the junior quarterback and Detroit News Dream Teamer did this season surprised the Big Red head man.
With a family that has been heavily into athletics, Fairfield said Martinez has been around a championship mentality his whole life. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound junior’s competitive nature, how calm and in control he was on the football field — none of that was a surprise.
In addition to that, Martinez had played at a powerhouse Division 8 program at Muskegon Catholic Central for two seasons, winning a state title there before coming over to Muskegon.
Some wondered if he would be ready for the higher level of competition, especially since he would get thrown right into the fire in his first two games as the Big Reds faced Detroit King and Warren De La Salle, two eventual state champions. It was in those contests, games where he rushed for a combined 445 yards and seven touchdowns, that Fairfield finally was caught by surprise.
“I was shocked, considering that he was new to the system, at how well he gave information back,” Fairfield said. “I think that’s a huge thing recruiters or scouts don’t realize is how smart a fooball player he is. He would give feedback or his vision of things or suggestions or say ‘they’re giving us a three, stemming late, rolling down.’ He would come to the sidelines and not have that deer-in-headlights look against King and De La Salle. He could process and give feedback on what he was seeing and I thought he was dead on with his info.”
That is in addition, of course, to his speed, balance and elusiveness. He can throw the football. too. But, in terms of college recruiting, even though some schools have discussed quarterback, more are saying athlete.
Michigan is one of those schools. The Wolverines offered as an athlete in November. Reportedly, defensive coordinator Don Brown likes him as a viper, but wide receiver is also a possibility.
“(Area recruiter and defensive line coach Greg Mattison) has been in here quite a bit and they really like him a lot,” Fairfield said. “They had him down there several times. I think they like the young man. Take away the athletic ability and you have a kid that will represent the university, has a solid support system, and they liked the class he carries himself with. Then you add the athleticism and strength — I have video of him squatting five out of five at almost 400 pounds, and he can two-hand dunk a basketball. They know what they’re getting as far as an athlete, but hearing from them, what they liked was the character and support.”
“They’re a really cool coaching staff,” Martinez said. “Coach (Jim) Harbaugh is really cool, and he talked to my mom as well which was important to me.”
Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan State all have shown more interest and stopped by the school during the recruiting period. Northwestern, Boston College, Indiana and Kentucky are among the 11 schools other than Michigan that have offered scholarships.
He has not named any favorites or declared a date he wants to make a decision by. Right now, he is playing basketball, then might take more visits later in the winter and into the spring. He is handling the Power 5 offers and the recruiting attention the same way he handled his junior season.
“I’m extremely happy with how he has handled it. He has a high maturity level,” Fairfield said. “On the field, he’s so natural he makes things look so easy.”
Martinez finished his junior season with 2,316 yards and 36 touchdowns rushing. He threw for 632 yards and 11 touchdowns with only one interception.
Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.