The 50 most important college players in Texas in 2017 — No. 38: Rice’s Trey Martin

AS THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON EDGES CLOSER, WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE MOST PIVOTAL PLAYERS FOR EACH PROGRAM'S RESPECTIVE SUCCESS.

The importance of a player is not always defined by their skill level. The most important player on a team or in a unit is not always the best player on a team. This list is designed to breakdown the 50 most important players in Texas college football for the 2017 season. It is not a ranking of the 50 best college football players in the state. Importance can be defined by position, need, skill or leadership. We’ll count down the list through the summer, all the way to No. 1.

Previously:
50 – Lamar DE Daniel Crosley / 49 – TCU WR KaVontae Turpin / 48 – UTEP QB Ryan Metz
47 – UMHB RB Markeith Miller / 46 – Sam Houston State DE PJ Hall / 45 – Baylor WR Blake Lynch
44 – Texas Tech WR Jonathan Giles (transferred) / 43 – Texas Tech RB Justin Stockton
42 – PVAMU WR Joshua Simmons / 41 – Rice RB Samuel Stewart / 40 – UNT WR Jalen Guyton
39 – Texas RB Chris Warren

The History

Trey Martin has been a force in the trenches for several years – first on both the offensive and defensive lines at El Campo, then on the defensive line at Rice before switching over to offense as a sophomore in 2015. Martin was a key member of the Ricebirds team that used a high-octane offense to advance all the way to the Class 3A DI state championship game back in 2012. He was a first-team all-state selection on the offensive line and a first-team all-district honoree on defense as a senior.

Martin stayed close to home when he signed with Rice and ended up redshirting in 2013 when Rice won 10 games and claimed its first Conference USA Championship. He saw action in 11 games on the defensive line as a redshirt freshman in 2014, but really excelled after making the switch to the other side of the ball. Martin has now started 20 games over the last two seasons, missing time only due to an injury in the middle of last year.

The Skillset

Evidenced by his ability to play at the collegiate level on both sides of the ball, Martin is a versatile weapon up front with a tremendous football IQ. He has played all across the offensive line in two years, starting 12 games at center and eight at guard. Before missing a few games with an injury last year, he had made 16 consecutive starts and then bounced back to help give the Owls a noticeable boost in productivity on offense late in the year. Martin was named Honorable Mention All-Conference USA and was voted a team captain by the Owls after the season.

The Impact

Rice struggled last year while losing its first six games of the year before bouncing back to win two of its last three late in the season. Injuries across the offensive line led to a lot of inconsistency up front, but the Owls return all of their starters in that unit heading into 2017. As a senior, Martin will be extremely important in facilitating the improvement on the line. His leadership and experience should help the Owls take a step forward this season after the team ranked 10th in C-USA while scoring 25.3 points per game last year.

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Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.

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