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‘I Feel Like He’s Gonna Have a Great Season’: Penn State Excited About Quinton Martin

Penn State has had a lineage of excellent running backs both before and during the James Franklin era.

PSU’s history with quality RBs goes back to even before Joe Paterno took over as head coach in 1966.

In the 50s, when Paterno was an assistant under Rip Engle, Lenny Moore became a star at Penn State, which led to him going to the NFL, where he had Hall of Fame career for the Baltimore Colts.

The first RB standout of the Paterno era was Charlie Pittman, who helped the coach to undefeated seasons in 1968 and ‘69. From there, every decade featured at least one star at the position. The ‘70s had John Cappelletti, who’s still the program’s lone Heisman Trophy winner.

The ‘80s had Curt Warner and D.J. Dozier, who each helped Penn State to national championships.

In the 90s, Ki-Jana Carter became a Penn State legend, helping the school to its most recent undefeated season in 1994 and placing second in the Heisman voting.

Larry Johnson placed third in the 2002 Heisman Trophy voting after what’s still the only 2,000+ yard rushing season in Penn State history.

In the 2010s, Saquon Barkley left his Penn State legacy. Currently, Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen are in the process of doing the same.

There’s a good chance at least one of Singleton or Allen, if not both, will declare for the NFL Draft after this season when they become eligible.

If that comes to fruition, Penn State will need somebody to take the reigns.

Quinton Martin could be that guy.

The 6-foot-1, 194-pounder was Pennsylvania’s top-rated recruit in the Class of 2024 due to an outstanding career at Belle Vernon High School in the Pittsburgh Area.

At Belle Vernon, Martin stood out at running back, receiver, punt returner and defensive back.

But his goal is to be a running back, and Penn State fans had their first glimpse of him at the college level during Saturday’s Blue-White Game.

Martin scored two touchdowns on runs of nine and 12 yards, respectively, in the White Team’s 27-0 win.

In Franklin’s postgame press conference, he describe Martin as an “awesome kid” who’s “learned the offense really well.”

“I do think he’s got really good vision,” Franklin said. “But I think between now and West Virginia (Week 1), he’s got a lot of work to do. And I think he’ll do it. I think he’ll have a chance to be competing to be in that rotation in training camp.”

QB Drew Allar credited Singleton and Allen, as well as RB coach Ja’Jaun Seider, with helping Martin along during his first spring season in college football.

“Nick and Kaytron did a really good job of taking those young guys under their wing and coaching them to the best of their abilities,” Allar said, “and obviously coach Seider is a fantastic coach as well. So I think the running back room is in a really good spot.”

Allar also mentioned Cam Wallace as somebody who’s had a good spring and “showed some flashes” in the Blue-White game.

Wallace ended the spring game with seven carries for 36 yards.

Penn State will need to figure out who will back up Singleton and Allen, a role Trey Potts filled last season.

“He and Quinton did some really good things this spring when they had their opportunities,” Allar said.

An important aspect of being a running back is catching the ball, and receiver Kaden Saunders is impressed with Martin’s ability to do that.

“He’s a natural,” Saunders said. “He catches the ball very natural out of the backfield. I haven’t seen him much at receiver, but just out of the backfield and stuff, he definitely catches the ball really well for a running back.”

On the other side of the ball, linebacker Tony Rojas has been impressed with what Martin’s done so far.

With Singleton and Allen each experiencing injury issues this spring— neither played in the Blue-White Game— Martin, Wallace and other young backs such as second-year London Montgomery from Scranton have needed to step up, and Rojas feels they’ve done that.

“Yeah, he’s (Martin’s) been great,” Rojas said.  “The ups and downs of our running back room with the injuries and whatnot, I feel like he’s stepped up and he’s going straight, not really dodging any tackles or anything.  He’s keeping his head down and keeps going so I feel like he’s gonna have a great season.”

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