Amari Martin played outside linebacker for the Lakewood High School football team as a sophomore. In his final two years, he moved to the inside and became the leader of the unit.
He also played tight end on offense and was the long snapper for …
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He also played tight end on offense and was the long snapper for punts, extra points and field goals.
"He didn't come off the field very much," Gators head coach Larry Cornelius said of Martin.
Martin's strength though was on the defensive side of the ball, and it was enough to earn him a scholarship to Wingate University, an NCAA Division II school in Wingate, North Carolina.
Martin, who signed with Wingate during a ceremony on Wednesday along with three other teammates, said the Wingate coaching staff hasn't told him their plans for him, and he doesn't really care.
"I don't care if they play me inside or outside," the 6-foot-2-inch, 205-pound Martin said. "It doesn't matter to me. I just want the opportunity to get on the field."
Wingate, which won the South Atlantic Conference title and went 10-2 on the season, was one of three DII schools to offer him. The others were Lenior-Rhyne, another North Carolina SAC school, and Johnson C. Smith located in Charlotte.
Martin also had The Citadel, Newberry and North Greenville, among others, showing interest in him.
Martin decided to go with Wingate because of the interest it steadily showed him.
"They made it feel like home to me," Martin said. "The coaches were contacting me daily. They were showing me love when I went there, and they've been showing love to this day."
After a solid season as a sophomore, Martin's numbers picked up as a junior and so did the interest from college recruiters.
"Recruiters contacted me on Twitter my junior year," Martin said. "It opened doors for me."
As did his play as a senior as well. He had 81 total tackles, one quarterback sack, one interception he returned 70 yards for a touchdown, one pass deflection and one fumble recovery.
Martin was also the captain of the defensive unit. Cornelius talked about his work ethic in all aspects of being a student-athlete.
"He epitomized what it takes to be great," Cornelius said of Martin, who had 11 catches as a tight end. Achieving in the classroom, first and foremost. Coming to all of the workouts, whether Voluntarily or mandatory, he was there."
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