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Jeff Kolpack, Published April 15 2013

Former Bison cornerback Martin eyes pros

FARGO – Andre Martin has been a regular spectator at North Dakota State spring football practices this month – when he’s not running track for the Bison or attending school. His season of success didn’t stop with the Division I Football Championship Subdivision national title.

Martin was a senior starting cornerback for a team that went 14-1 and finished its season in early January in Frisco, Texas.

“It’s been a blessing, I couldn’t ask for anything more,” he said.

Well, actually he could. He’s hoping for an NFL shot.

The NFL Draft is April 25-27 and it’s iffy if Martin will hear his name in the late rounds. But a good performance in NDSU’s annual pro day may get him at least a free-agent shot. He was timed at 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash with a best of 4.39 by one scout.

But Martin said there’s more to speed than getting a chance. He calls himself a “student of the game” and said factors like technique and overall ability should be taken into account.

“I think that’s one of my best attributes,” he said. “I’m constantly learning the game.”

Martin said his agent has heard from Jacksonville, Minnesota and Detroit, although that doesn’t necessarily mean those are the only three that are interested. It hasn’t been unheard of in recent years for Bison players to get a free-agent shot from a team they didn’t know about.

“It’s just kind of speculation right now,” Martin said.

Martin transferred from Northern Iowa last summer to attend graduate school at NDSU. He used an NCAA exemption that allows players to be immediately eligible if they have their four-year degree, which Martin got from UNI.

It didn’t take long for him to gain a starting spot. He finished sixth on the team in tackles with 51. He led the team in pass breakups with six and had his only interception in the national title game against Sam Houston State (Texas) returning it 37 yards.

With so many juniors on that NDSU team, Martin is the only professional prospect. Senior Joe Lund, the FCS Rimington Award winner that goes to the best center, decided not to pursue a professional tryout.

If called, Martin said he’s ready to represent the school at the next level.

“I will make a big impact if they take a shot (on) me,” he said. “Any team that takes a shot (on) me, it will be the best decision they made. I would think late seventh round or free agent, you never know.”

Meanwhile, he’s still a staple in the NDSU athletic world. He finished fifth in the 100 meters in the Mesa Classic at 11:05 seconds and bettered that the next day at the Arizona State Sun Angel Classic with a 10.91. Both meets were in the Phoenix area. He was also part of an open division-winning 400-meter relay team.

“I’m just keeping the wheels greased up running track and working out every day,” he said.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia