When Rickey Preston opted against coming to WSU a few weeks back, instead deciding to sign with Tulane, WSU was once again looking to fill a need at wide receiver. They appear to have done so with the commitment of Tavares Martin, Jr. out of Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Martin garnered three stars from most recruiting services, with the exception of ESPN who has him at four stars. The news was first reported by Braulio Perez of Cougfan.com.
At first glance, it appears Mike Leach and company scored a huge coup very late in the process. This kid has a "who's who" of schools on his offer list, including Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State and a litany of other bigtime programs. Now here is where you, the ever sagacious-yet-skeptical Cougar fan thinks something like "With an offer sheet like that, why hasn't he signed anywhere yet, and why is he picking WSU over all those other schools?" Well, wise Cougar fan, let's talk about that.
Martin was arrested in April of 2014, after he allegedly broke in to an unoccupied home and stole some property, including a flat screen television. He was charged with, among other things, grand theft and unarmed burglary. Despite that, Martin was committed to West Virginia, and planned on attending school there until his offer was pulled shortly before signing day. Since then, there have been reports that he could possibly attend Hawaii, or even a junior college. For the time being he is headed to WSU, and if he gets in to school and on to the field, he would be a great addition.
In the Hudl video below, he looks the part of a traditional outside receiver. He has pretty good speed and seems to have pretty good ball skills. I will admit that I've seen less than five prospect highlight videos in my life, so I'm not exactly an expert. Still, he has a really impressive punt return at the 2:30 mark, and a couple nice catches at the 3:45 and 6:10 marks.
There is also some video from a combine he attended, if you enjoy watching combine footage. One thing that stuck out to me is that he really needs to bulk up. He's listed at six feet, 155 pounds, so it's quite likely that he'll require a redshirt year to put on some more weight. He also makes a pretty impressive catch in the back of the end zone over a defender. One other thing that stuck out was that the DJ apparently thinks kids these days get fired up when they listen to Sammy Hagar and Def Leppard.
As for where Martin would fit into the scholarship situation, Jeff covered it thoroughly with the Preston post. In short, Martin would likely sign financial aid papers, enabling him to count against the 2016 class. Let's all hope this kid pans out and is able to put his significant talents on display at WSU for the next few years. Go Cougs.