For many rookies, that could prove a major setback. There’s a conditioning factor to consider, but more importantly it is time lost that could have been spent trying to learn a new offense.
Somehow, it’s difficult to imagine Martin having problems picking up anything intellectually.
After the Dolphins selected him in the second round of the 2012 draft, Head Coach Joe Philbin said it best: “He’s smart, obviously.”
As in, Harvard smart.
Every Dolphins fan knows that Martin came to Miami by way of Stanford, but that’s only because he passed up a chance to attend the prestigious Ivy League school.
And it wasn’t just any kind of chance. It was an opportunity to make history.
As it turns out, Harvard was very interested in the offensive lineman from a high school in California called — how great is this? — Harvard-Westlake.
“I was decently recruited, not super heavily,” Martin said. “I was a three-star (recruit) coming out, skinny kid. Maybe 10 offers, maybe 15, not a lot. There were a couple of Pac-12 (schools) and some smaller schools.”
It was while he was being pursued by Harvard that Martin said his parents began to do some research and eventually discovered that Martin had a chance to become the first fourth-generation African-American to attend the school.
“It’s crazy,” Martin said. “It’s a crazy thing to hear, but it doesn’t have anything to do with football.
“Yeah, that’s something that’s big, that’s kind of cool. At the same time, Stanford was a great school, comparable education and also a lot better football.”
So Martin passed up the chance to make history at Harvard to study history at Stanford — more precisely the classics (Roman and Greek).
Martin actually committed to UCLA first before changing his mind and going to Stanford, where he developed into an All-Pac-12 performer at left tackle.
In the midst of his first offseason with the Dolphins, Martin has been too focused on the present to wonder how his football career might have played out had he attended Harvard.
“That’s impossible to say,” he said. “Anything could have happened. You definitely get some more exposure at a Pac-12 program, as opposed to an Ivy League program. But Harvard is a great program; I enjoyed my visit there. It just wasn’t for me.”
According to an October 2011 New York Times article about Martin and fellow Stanford offensive lineman David DeCastro, a first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers this April, Martin is planning on attending law school at some point, so it would seem the Harvard fourth-generation scenario might happen still.
But it’s football that’s on Martin’s mind these days.
“Nah, I haven’t really thought about that,” said Martin, who has been lining up at right tackle for the Dolphins. “Right now, I’m just focusing on playing 10 years in the NFL.”
It’s not that Martin doesn’t take pride in his education. On the contrary.
“Getting a degree from Stanford, it’s big,” said Martin, who indicated he plans on completing the “couple of classes” he still needs in the near future. “It means a lot. At the same time, right now I’m an NFL player and that’s what I’m focused on.
“My parents are obviously huge on education, but they see the opportunity I have to start for the Dolphins hopefully this coming year and I’m focused is on that right now.”