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Vanden sophomore linebacker/defensive end Devin Martin watched one former star at his school succeed on the biggest stage last month.
Deone Buchanan, a graduate of Vanden and former first round pick out of Washington State in the 2014 NFL Draft, showed the way out. He showed the way to make it to the National Football League and play on the biggest state.
Buchanan has spent time with four organizations – the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And with Tampa Bay, he was part of history, on a roster that won the Super Bowl over the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I want to be like him, like saying, ‘I could do this,’” Martin said. “I want to put on for my family and get out of here. It’s just a lot of things.”
For 10 years, football has been a part of Martin’s fabric, and as time went on, those around him noticed something different in him.
The older he got, not only the better he got, but the more he appeared destined to really make a name for himself and potentially make it past the high school stage on the football field. They told him he could do it. They told him he had the work ethic to make it there.
“I just kept that in my mind every day,” Martin said. “I keep pushing myself every day to do what’s best.”
Martin needed just one year on the sub-varsity levels before making the jump up to varsity, playing junior varsity when he was a freshman in 2019 while being the Defensive Player of the Year.
And it’s only been an upward trajectory since then.
On Mondays, Martin works on squats. Tuesdays, it’s bench press. Wednesdays, it’s running. Thursdays, it’s working on his back. Fridays, it’s shoulders. Weekends, some workouts are incorporated, too.
There’s been a lot of studying as well, continuously watching film from his freshman season and seeing where he can improve.
At showcases over the offseason, coaches and scouts noticed the work Martin put in and watched him become a top performer at numerous events he attended.
“People recognize me now,” Martin said. “They’re saying, ‘Oh, that’s Devin Martin. We know who that is. He does what he does.’ I love it.”
Martin credits his success to his parents.
“Definitely my parents,” Martin said. “My parents, my peers, my coaches. My parents are a big part. If I have a little mental stuff going on, they push me every day to go to practice, go to practice, take me to practice. My uncle. He pushes me through everything. All of my coaches. I have some coaches out here, they push me every day, and that’s the thing I love out here. 7-on-7 is our life.”
Now, after the recent news regarding California allowing for the return of outdoor high contact sports, Martin is a few weeks away from his first varsity game at Vanden.
In addition to boosting his own game, getting recruited and hopefully earning a starting position, Martin and his Vanden teammates are striving for greatness in every aspect together after being Sac-Joaquin Section quarterfinalists in 2019.
“We’re just a great team,” Martin said. “We have a lot of people. It’s good people. Very good people, good DBs, good linebackers, good line. We’re going to win it all. We’re trying to win it all this year. That’s the main goal for everyone.”
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