El Campo's Hunt, Martin all smiles on Signing Day
By TAYLOR MITCHELL - TMITCHELL@VICAD.COM
Feb. 6, 2013 at 5:05 p.m.
Updated Feb. 5, 2013 at 8:06 p.m.
EL CAMPO - The last time Trey Martin and Cole Hunt did interviews there weren't any smiles.
On Wednesday morning, however, their smiles were impossible to remove.
Hunt and Martin signed national letters of intent to play college football at Rice University next fall.
"This means everything to me," said Martin, who will play center for the first time in his career at Rice. "I have my college paid for and get to play college football. It's awesome."
"It's a dream come true," added Hunt, who will play tight end at Rice. "This was my main goal last off season, to get a Division I scholarship. It's pretty awesome that it's coming true."
Hunt and Martin played pivotal roles in El Campo's run to the Class 3A, Division I state championship game last year where the Ricebirds fell to Stephenville, 70-35.
Martin anchored an offensive line last season that led the way for three different 1,000 yard rushers. Hunt caught 17 passes for 374 yards and three touchdowns, as well as totaling 117 tackles and a team-high 17 sacks.
"His (Hunt) upside is incredible," Rice head coach David Bailiff said during Wednesday's news conference. "He finishes blocks."
Bob Gillis, who has been the head coach at El Campo for 15 years, said it's an honor to have two players sign Division I scholarships.
"El Campo hasn't had that in a very long time," Gillis said. "We've had some good players that signed Division I, but never two in one year."
Martin will move from left tackle to center at Rice. Since he has never played the position before, Martin admitted he has plenty of work ahead of him.
"I have to work on my snaps a whole lot. Like getting in a stance and getting comfortable," Martin said. "There's a coach at Rice, who played center, and I talked to him on Monday and he told me some drills to work on my snaps, like never snap the ball and be still. Always snap the ball and take your first step."
Hunt will play a familiar position at Rice, where he will join three other tight ends. With his 6-foot-7, 235-pound frame, it's possible to see Hunt on the playing field early on in his career.
"(Passing game coordinator Larry Edmondson) said he wants me to play early," Hunt said. "So, that will be my goal."
Martin, on the other hand, said that he will probably be redshirted his first year. However, it's a designation Martin welcomes with open arms.
"As a lineman, you need that extra year to get stronger and be on the same level communication-wise as everybody else," Martin said.
Nobody knows what the future holds for Martin or Hunt, but with Gillis' three D's - desire, discipline and dedication - in mind, that future is bright.