Brandon Martin trending toward bigger role

By: Jimmy Carter
Published: Tuesday, October 10, 2017
NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Arkansas wide receiver Brandon Martin hauls in a pass Saturday April 15, 2017 during practice.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Arkansas wide receiver Brandon Martin hauls in a pass Saturday April 15, 2017 during practice.

— It took five games, but Brandon Martin finally made his first career catch in an Arkansas uniform Saturday.

The sophomore receiver arrived on campus in the spring as one of the prized recruits of the 2017 signing class, but battled various injuries since early in fall camp and had missed three straight games prior to the road matchup at South Carolina. But he got on the field against the Gamecocks and recorded his first catch, a 15-yard pass from quarterback Austin Allen, in the third quarter.

"He's coming along," Allen said. "He's running the right routes out there, going full speed in practice. He's a guy where the coaches are starting to trust him where he's getting more reps in practice, running with the ones. He's a guy we need to count on."

A healthy Martin could provide a boost for an Arkansas receiving corps which has struggled to get open at times. At 6-foot-4 and 219 pounds, he gives Allen a big, physical target who can use his frame to win jump balls and ward off cornerbacks.

"I feel like he would be a big help for us with his size and making contested catches," junior receiver Jonathan Nance said. "I feel like that's one thing that we need to help contribute on the field."

Martin arrived in the spring with Nance, his junior college teammate.

While Martin was ranked the No. 1 junior college receiver in the nation by one publication, the under-the-radar Nance has been the more productive of the duo, leading Arkansas with 23 catches for 374 yards and five touchdowns. Saturday was perhaps a sign at Martin finally being ready to contribute and figure into the receiver rotation.

"I feel like Brandon's going to start getting more and more into the mix," Nance said. "He's been practicing more coming off that little injury that he did have, but he's gonna get in the mix and get a good feel to start playing more."

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