Martinear chooses UAB

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2005

For Eric Martinear, showing up late for a summer football camp turned out to be a stroke of luck.

The Selma High School offensive tackle was one of three Saints to sign college football scholarships on Wednesday. The 6-foot, 5-inch, 250-pound Martinear will attend the University of Alabama-Birmingham and play football for the Blazers beginning this fall.

Martinear’s signing highlighted college football’s National Signing Day, the first day that high school football players nationwide could officially ink college scholarships.

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Martinear was originally scheduled to take part in all the exercises at UAB football camp over the summer. But, he said, he arrived late and missed the 40-yard dash drill.

“They told me I was the last one to arrive,” Martinear said. “That made me want to show them even more what I could do.”

Martinear fared well in the shuttle run, long jump and vertical jump. That apparently was enough to make a lasting impact on the UAB coaching staff.

“They offered me the scholarship right before the last game of the season,” he said. “When I visited the campus, I thought it was beautiful. I thought I would be up there again one day.”

Martinear had 65 defensive blocking knockdowns this season for the Saints, along with 37 career tackles and eight career sacks. Lowe named Martinear the Saints’ Offensive Lineman of the Year.

“Eric always played with a lot of intensity, a lot of passion for the game,” Selma High football coach Woodrow Lowe said. “All three are great kids. They’ll go off and represent their universities well.”