Tay Martin looked at the ground and spotted evidence that he had planted at least one of his feet in bounds while catching the soccer ball.
When Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders sent a deep, spiraling pass into Martin’s hands, Martin dug his left shoe into the pitch at Jack Trice Stadium, uprooting some of the natural grass just to the inside the pylon. Noticing the indentation his foot had left in the end zone, Martin slapped the spot on the pitch, signaling to the neighboring referee that the touchdown should be held.
With the coordination of a crafty goalie on a basketball court, he sort of had both feet in the end zone.
“I tried to put my foot in it and dragged them both around so I surprised myself,” said Martin. “I was happy it paid off this way and it’s good to know the training is paying off. “
Martin, a senior manager from Houma, La., Can fine tune his balance and dexterity when working with Sanders or doing reps with the JUGS shift machine during the week, but his commitment to training is not the only reason why the dazzling catches have become routine games for him. The OSU receiver said he developed some of his football skills through a different sport.
“I played basketball a lot growing up,” said Martin. “Me, moving my body, just from different angles, and spinning my body, I was always able to be flexible and fall ugly and able to secure the grip.”
Listed under his full name Davontavean Martin, recruiting videos from his hoop career show a high school student with nimble feet, devious maneuvers and a penchant for flight.
In a 2015 Hudl clip, Martin secures a pass outside of the paint, walks over to the basket and leaps to the ledge, throwing a monstrous dunk at his opponent. The climax is aptly called “The Poster” and its four-minute Hudl tape – shared with the title “underestimated”- is packed with similar clips.
Traces of his technique as a young goalkeeper seep into his tendencies as a receiver striving to outdo Power 5’s defenses. His emphasis on footwork and body control carries from sport to sport. ‘other.
“You can really see most of his basketball skills,” said second-year wide receiver Brennan Presley. “Even sometimes he will use a basketball move like a football move in his press releases (against defenders), so you can really see the transition from his basketball to his football game.”
The connection between those sports was revealed in his touchdown that gave OSU a 21-17 lead at Iowa State, a moment of celebration for the Cowboys despite their eventual loss.
A week later, Martin got a 36-yard pass in the end zone to help OSU’s resounding victory over Kansas, and he also showed his coordination with a 26-yard catch against Baylor that ESPN described. as “ridiculous”, reaching more than double. cover to secure the ball near the sideline.
He might as well have posterized the two Bears with a dunk.
While Martin may not be able to use all of his basketball tricks on the football field, he does have the opportunity to relive his high school glory days. During their free time, members of the Cowboy football team enjoy playing basketball games.
“We all do it, and it’s not like a macho man thing,” Presley said. “It’s just like, ‘Hey let’s have some fun.’ Basically we’re kids for that amount of time, like an hour or two, and we’re just playing.
Each has a unique role. Presley compared security Kolby Harvell-Peel to NBA star Chris Paul, describing him as a “facilitator.” Gabe Simpson, a former Cowboys basketball player, has “a nice jump,” according to Martin. At 5-foot-8, Presley said he couldn’t dunk, but knew how to get some lift, which he showed in his own remarkable touchdown against Iowa State.
Several of the Cowboys have competed on prep basketball teams before, but unlike most of his teammates, Martin has been recognized as a hoops rookie, even committing to Tulane as a bisport athlete.
“I played on the Nike circuit, the Adidas circuit,” said Martin. “I played basketball at a very high level, which certainly translated into football.”
Eventually, Martin put his basketball dreams aside and changed his commitment to playing football in Washington State, where he spent three seasons before transferring to OSU.
After lining up behind Tylan Wallace for much of the 2020 season, Martin is averaging 75.6 yards per game this year, placing third in the Big 12 Conference. Entering the OSU game against West Virginia, Martin leads his team with 529 yards on 36 catches.
On the basketball court, the Cowboys might not be keeping stats, but Presley said Martin was probably the best of the group.
For Martin, it’s a chance to stay connected to a hobby that had once been a big part of his life. Martin said that when the basketball season rolls around he sometimes misses a game, but his skills in the gym are not lost.
He just uses them to catch touchdowns and beat cornerbacks instead of grabbing jump balls and boxing his opponents on hardwood.
“I told him after the season, if they take him,” Presley said, “they should let him play on the basketball team.”
Follow News Press sports reporter Hallie Hart on Twitter @halliehart for updates on Oklahoma state football.