McNamara’s Jordan Martin shines in return to track team

McNamara senior Jordan Martin gave up his spot on the track team because of the toll competition took on his body. A standout hurdler and jumper early in his high school career, he was slowed down by a series of minor injuries before he decided to focus on football full-time after his sophomore indoor season.

The move paid off for Martin, who signed a national letter-of-intent in February to play college football at Toledo. He expects to play cornerback for the Rockets next year and hopes to compete for playing time right away.

But Martin didn’t want to graduate from the Forestville private school with unfinished business on the track. After his high school career on the gridiron came to a close, the move back to his other sport felt right.

“I didn’t have nothing to do after football season,” Martin said. “I was just like, ‘I’m all healthy now – bigger, faster, stronger. I’m just going to go back to track and do the best I can.’”

After nearly two full years away from high school competition, Martin emerged as the area’s top hurdler indoors this winter, and he’s already off to a strong start outdoors after winning two events at Saturday’s Central Invitational.

The 6-foot-2, 192-pound Upper Marlboro native went unbeaten in hurdles this season indoors against local competition, clocking in at 7.42 seconds in the 55 hurdles at the DCIAA Invitational in January for the best time in the area this season. He also posted the second-best long jump of the indoor season for a Maryland athlete when he soared 22 feet, 4.25 inches at the University of Kentucky Invitational.

On Saturday, Martin won the 110 hurdles in 14.69 seconds and also took the long jump with 21 feet, 8 inches in his spring debut.

“I’ve been running since I was like 7,” Martin said. “Everything kind of comes naturally when I’m out there.”

With his return to competition, Martin has flashed the raw athleticism that attracted heavy interest from some of the nation’s top football programs. Rated a two-star recruit by Rivals.com, his FBS offers included Hawaii, Massachusetts, Ohio and Old Dominion.

As a two-way starter for the Mustang football team, Martin finished the season with six interceptions and 35 tackles to earn second-team all-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference honors.

In his first stint with the track team, Martin said at different times he dealt with nagging problems related to his hamstring, knee and Achilles tendon, not to mention, recurring shin splints.

As he looks ahead to playing at Toledo as part of the Mid-American Conference’s top-rated recruiting class, he said he does not regret his choice to put his high school track career on hold. The Ohio school does not currently field a men’s track and field team.

“Football’s my first passion,” Martin said, “so I’m always going to stick with that.”

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Matt Brooks · April 1, 2013