IOWA CITY — Maybe at some point, we’ll all look back at this and laugh. But for right now, tracking incoming transfer wide receiver Oliver Martin is a little like getting a glimpse of Big Foot.
When news broke of Martin’s transfer last Monday, it was understandably big news here. The former Iowa City West all-stater spent his first two seasons at Michigan. He’s now a Hawkeye.
Will he play this year? Will fellow wide receiver transfer Charlie Jones (who’s coming in from Buffalo) be able to play? No answers on those yet. And, if Martin isn’t eligible in 2019 — transfers still have to sit out a year unless they receive a waiver and Iowa is working toward that with Martin — you won’t see Martin in an Iowa uniform until spring 2020.
But Martin is working out with the team right now. There have been sightings. The Hawkeyes begin the “skills and drills” portion of summer conditioning Wednesday.
Eventually, this will become less Bigfoot and more wide receiver.
Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley has thrown passes with Martin. He likes what he’s seen so far.
“Really excited that he’s here,” Stanley said. “If he’s eligible, he can contribute for us.”
Stanley’s read on Martin: “He’s responded to the way the coaches have taught him. He’s very personable, he listens. He really wants to be the best he can be. He’s going to listen to whatever criticism or feedback. That’s necessary for him to get there.”
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“He’s fast, great hands,” Stanley said. “I haven’t thrown with him that much, but he reminds me a lot of Nick (Easley, 103 catches in two seasons, Outback Bowl MVP). Kind of the same body type. Nick had great production here, so maybe he can do something like that.”
If Martin does end up at slot and if he is eligible this season, Stanley mentioned him with the slot receivers, which right now has Nico Ragaini and Tyrone Tracy running at the top of the depth chart.
“It’s a big spot in our passing game, you just push it down the field,” Stanley said. “So, it is big for us to find someone who can produce there.”
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