Asa Martin had an important notification on his phone when he finished his high school basketball practice Monday.
It was a direct message from Auburn running backs coach Tim Horton, who wanted Martin to give him a call when he was free. Martin obliged. On the other side of the line, Horton and offensive line coach Herb Hand chatted with Martin for a few minutes — nothing out of the ordinary for Auburn’s player-friendly coaches.
Then, Horton halted the small talk and got to the purpose of the phone call.
“Him and coach Hand talked for a little bit, then they told me they wanted to offer me a scholarship to Auburn University,” Martin told SEC Country. “I’m really excited about it. It’s one I’ve been waiting for.”
The 6-foot, 193-pound running back is the No. 11-rated back in the country. Auburn is the 17th offer for the 4-star running back from Decatur, Ala. Martin’s previous offers include Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss, Baylor, LSU, Oregon, Wisconsin and Tennessee, to name the top programs.
Still, neither of the in-state SEC schools had offered the eighth-ranked prospect in the state of Alabama — until Monday.
Auburn immediately enters the equation for Martin, though he said all programs that have offered remain on equal footing.
“No leaders right now. Not yet. I’m just really enjoying the process,” Martin said.
That hasn’t stopped Martin from assessing why Auburn seems like the right fit.
Martin’s communications with Auburn picked up upon Chip Lindsey’s hire as offensive coordinator. Lindsey is a big reason Martin made the trip for the January junior day. Lindsey told Martin that he sat down with coach Gus Malzahn last week to evaluate Martin’s film. They both liked what they saw, which led to the offer.
Martin has always had a high opinion of Auburn. His appreciation has grown as Lindsey, Horton, Hand and Malzahn have told him how the “new” offense might match his skill set better than before.
“They’re doing a couple new things on offense this year to get the running backs’ hands in the passing game a little more. I really like that,” Martin said. “I’ve got real good hands out of the backfield. That’s something I pride myself on.”
Martin is deep into his basketball season, so it’s hard for him to make regular recruiting trips this spring. He still has plans to make it to Ole Miss in March. Martin also expects to go to Oklahoma. He said the Sooners are the one team that he communicates with regularly that hasn’t offered yet.
He hopes that will change soon. Once those final offers flow in, Martin will begin narrowing in on his top preferences.
“I ain’t really rushing the decision,” Martin said. “It’ll probably be late this year. I’m going to graduate early. Somewhere around that time.”