Oklahoma State safety Markelle Martin has been solid and steady for the Cowboys this season. The junior ranks sixth on the team with 51 tackles and is one of the hardest hitters on the Pokes’ roster. I chatted with Markelle during the Alamo Bowl press conference earlier this week.
Why do you wear No. 10?
It was just given to me when I got here. Then I got to a point where I wanted it to mean something to me and since I wore No. 5 in high school so I decided I want to be twice as good. So I just thought of it that way because I wanted the jersey to mean something to me.
You never tried to change?
No, I never wanted to change. People ask me all the time if I’m going to change it because it’s a quarterback number but on defense the safety is actually a quarterback, you line people up, you are the quarterback of the defense.
And it’s unique too, it makes you stand out.
Yeah, if the white tights don’t help.
What is the best thing about playing college football?
Being around the team and the crowd. That’s one thing when you play defense, you have to love. The crowd can interfere with different plays and they feed off of big hits. And you can anticipate when the ball is thrown by the voice of the crowd most people don’t recognize that but you can tell, by the crowd, when something is happening or about to happen behind you.
Describe the feeling of walking to field, getting ready to run through that gate?
For me, the closer we get to game time, I get quiet, I hold everything in. I get mellow. My coach in high school told me the bigger the stage, the bigger you play so I keep that in my head. Just make plays, do what you’re capable of doing. As soon as that first chance to hit somebody, I just let it all out. And it’s back to normal then.
What’s your biggest superstition?
Doing something wrong, something out of the ordinary. Putting the jersey on wrong or something you would be thinking about, like… “Hey I have to calm down, I need to pay more attention”
What’s up with the white tights?
I used to do it in high school. It’s really nothing special, just turf burn. I get a lot of turf burn so I learned after the Tulsa game (to wear) either socks or tights.
What was your favorite Big 12 road trip?
I’d say Texas. There was a lot of hype going into that game, the atmosphere was great and we came out with a win. The team was ready to play and everything was hitting on all cylinders.
Check out an example of Martin’s hard hitting nature (hit #3):