At 5-foot-1 11, 285 pounds, Steven Martinez is a big guy who can run.
That’s only one of his many assets, according to Manteca High varsity football coach Eric Reis.
“(Steven) has a quick burst that can benefit him at the next level,” he said Friday prior to Martinez’s signing his letter of intent to play football next fall at Dickinson State University in North Dakota.
The Division II Blue Hawks of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics is part of the North Star Athletic Association consisting of Dakota State, Valley City State, Presentation College, and Mayville.
If the latter sounds familiar that’s because Martinez’s fellow Buffalo teammates Chase McKee and Darrel Clemons signed last month to play football for Mayville.
The schedule was just released with Dickinson hosting Mayville on Oct. 31.
Martinez wasn’t looking that far ahead. He’s thrilled at becoming a Blue Hawk this fall, crediting special teams coach Joey Rohles for providing him with that North Dakota connection.
“They play the same defense as Manteca High,” said Martinez, who was joined by friends, teammates, coaches and family during this special occasion in the school library.
He’s looking to major in Health & PE with a possible minor in Criminal Justice.
Martinez thought about joining McKee and Clemons at Mayville as well as playing at Delta College or Modesto Junior College. But he found that Dickinson showed plenty of interest in his abilities.
Reis had always liked Martinez’s versatility. So much so that he played him at fullback during a crucial game against Sierra during a rain-soaked Guss Schmiedt Field last October.
Martinez, who played mostly nose guard on defense, didn’t disappoint as he made a key block on the play.
“I think he can play anywhere on the field, if told,” Reis said.