High schools

Michigan football team makes an offer to local eighth grader

Linebacker/tight end Tyler Martin of Buckingham, Browne & Nichols. (Courtesy Buckingham, Browne & Nichols)
courtesy BB&N
As a linebacker, Tyler Martin is “all the things you want in a defensive player,” says his coach.

Buckingham Browne & Nichols linebacker/tight end Tyler Martin is not your average eighth grader. Standing 6 feet 3 inches and weighing 227 pounds, the 15-year-old Acton resident led his team with more than 100 tackles last season, drawing the attention of a major college football program.

Last Thursday, Martin announced on his Twitter page that he received an offer from the University of Michigan, indicating his potential as one of the top prospects in the nation for the Class of 2022.

“We’ve had some outstanding players and outstanding eighth-graders,” said BB&N coach Mike Willey, “but the way he has developed has been impressive. He’s physically gifted and his work ethic has been tremendous. He has good instincts, he’s physically strong and is relentless in pursuit.

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“He’s all the things you want in a defensive player.”

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While Martin can verbally commit to Michigan, he cannot formally accept a scholarship offer until National Signing Day arrives in the winter of his senior year.

He is the second eighth-grader offered by Michigan this year, as coach Jim Harbaugh also offered quarterback Ty Simpson of Tennessee in March.

Martin joins recent BB&N graduates Eric Olson (Northwestern), Mike McCaffrey (Holy Cross), and teammate Jay Symonds (a three-star Stanford signee in the Class of 2018) as players from the Cambridge school to be offered by a Division 1 program. But Martin is the first eighth-grader offered in program history.

“We’ve had a lot of experience sending guys to the highest level,” said Willey. “He will continue to go through the process and stick with the formula we’ve established.”

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Also a member of the varsity baseball team and a standout on the middle school basketball team at BB&N, Martin is from an athletic family.

His mother, Naomi, played basketball at Amherst College and is now athletic director at Lexington High. His younger sister, Molly, is on the US Soccer U-14 girls’ national team.

“We weren’t even going to put a highlight film together of Tyler’s eighth-grade season,” said Naomi, “because we firmly believe that his best is yet to come.”

“The offer is really flattering. I think Tyler is humbled and a little bit speechless. Nothing is decided yet, but there’s the potential down the road for this to change his life.”

Michigan defensive coordinator and Massachusetts native Don Brown has recently recruited tight end Sean McKeon (Shepherd Hill), as well as Oakland Raiders draft picks Maurice Hurst Jr. (Xaverian) and Obi Melifonwu (Grafton) from his home state.

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It was Brown, the former Northeastern and UMass head coach and Boston College defensive coordinator, who first reached out to the Martin family with the offer.

“It was a bit unexpected,” Naomi said. “It felt surreal for us. We’re just trying to enjoy the moment and stay even-keeled while Tyler is getting all this attention.

“It’s not exactly the life of a normal eighth-grader.”

Nate Weitzer can be reached at nweitzer7@gmail.com.