Marietta linebacker Daniel Martin was one of 10 players to make their college commitments on live television during NBC’s broadcast of the All-American Bowl on Saturday.
His selection, though, turned out to be a first.
Martin announced his intention to play his college football at Vanderbilt, a program which had not received a commitment during the annual showcase game in any year before.
“For the next four years, I’ll be spending by time at Vanderbilt University,” Martin said during the broadcast. “Once coach (Clark) Lea got there, they’ve been calling me every day. It’s just a family environment up there.”
Martin will join two other local players from the class of 2022 in Nashville --Kennesaw Mountain wide receiver Savion Riley and Cherokee quarterback A.J. Swann, who both signed during the early signing period in December.
Martin finished the 2021 season with 98 tackles and 5½ sacks, helping Marietta finish second in Region 3AAAAAAA and advance to the second round of the Class AAAAAAA state playoffs.
At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, Martin would be considered undersized to play linebacker in the Southeastern Conference, but Lea has a history of taking players with athletic talent and turning them into star players. As the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame from 2018-20, Lea worked with an undersized Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and helped turn him into the Butkus Award winner as the nation’s top linebacker.
The 6-2, 220-pound Owusu-Koramoah was selected in the second round of the NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns last spring and is considered one of the impact rookies of the 2021 season.
At the same time Martin was making his announcement during last Saturday’s game, a different video of his announcement was posted on social media. The video features highlights of Martin’s youth football and high school exploits and also includes another former Marietta and Vanderbilt standout — current Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson.
“What a journey,” Martin said in the video. “I would like to thank God for letting me play the game I love. I’d like to thank my parents and all my family for supporting me and pushing me. I’m looking forward to playing at the next level.
“With that being said, I would like to commit to Vanderbilt University. Anchor Down baby!”
Martin has enrolled early and is currently on campus for the winter semester at Vanderbilt.