FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas wide receiver Brandon Martin joined the Razorbacks with massive expectations.
Martin was a consensus 4-star prospect and the No. 1 junior college wide receiver recruit in the 2017 class. The sophomore was expected to immediately make an impact on a receiving corps that lost four of its top five players from last season.
Well, immediately didn’t exactly happen. Martin was slowed by a back ailment in fall camp and a hamstring injury early in the season. He also was struggling with the mental side of things, which meant the coaching staff wouldn’t be giving him many opportunities even when healthy.
Martin has become a different player the past few weeks. He’s regularly using his free time to meet with wide receivers coach Michael Smith. He’s also back to feeling 100 percent. As a result, he’s just beginning to display his capabilities to the coaching staff.
Last Saturday in a loss at Alabama, Martin had 4 catches for 34 yards. He saw more playing time in that game than any other this season, three of which he was inactive because of injury.
It’s a welcome sign because Arkansas needs him. At 6-foot-4 and 219 pounds, he presents a matchup problem for any defense.
“What he did Saturday was make catches, which is going to mean more plays for him,” said offensive coordinator Dan Enos. “He is gonna be a huge plus for us. He has good size and speed and he can be a definite positive influence to our offense.”
Martin’s belief he can compete in the SEC is also trending up following his increased playing time at Alabama. Not that he didn’t know he was capable all along, but the injuries and the learning curve had made him wonder when he’d get his opportunity.
“It’s definitely a confidence boost, because that’s Alabama, the No. 1 team,” Martin said. “I just showed my coaches and my teammates that they could trust me out on the field to make plays for them.
“It was a struggle [with the injuries]. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another. I had to just put in more overtime in the training room to get back right on the field.”