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Monday, January 05, 2009

Cottonwood's Martinez says USC's the place

There was never a moment when John Martinez found the University of Southern California unappealing.

"I just felt like it was the place to be," said Martinez, who announced his commitment to the Trojans Sunday night just before the start of the Under Armour All-American Football Game on ESPN. "I've been talking to (former Cottonwood teammate) Stanley Havili about it a lot lately, and I feel like it's the best decision for me."

It wasn't just one aspect of the Trojans' program that swayed the heavily recruited offensive lineman to turn down offers from LSU, UCLA and about 30 others.

"It was kind of everything," Martinez said in a telephone interview with the Deseret News. The two-time all-state lineman has visited the USC campus numerous times, including an official visit when the Trojans defeated Ohio State on Sept. 13. Martinez also visited LSU and UCLA but canceled his last two scheduled visits because he'd narrowed his list to those three.

He said he made the final decision Saturday and informed his parents that evening.

"They thought it was the right choice," Martinez said. "They were good with where ever I went as long as I felt comfortable with the decision."

Martinez said he'd grown tired of the pressure and was relieved to have the decision made and announced before his final game as a high school player.

"It feels really good," he said. "I feel a lot of relief; I think I'll play a lot better now."

He said he was both nervous and excited for the All-American Football game, in which he was slated to start as the White Team's center. Timpview offensive lineman, and the only other Utahn to play in the game, was supposed to start at right tackle. He said he'd enjoyed the week-long event, but he was also looking forward to returning to Utah.

"It's been crazy and great at the same time," he said. "I'd do it all again, thought. It's pretty amazing, all of the talent. Knowing you have the No. 1 players in all of those positions playing opposite you is pretty crazy."

He said he expects it will be something like that when he heads to college next year.

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