Having grown up around the game of football, Chula Vista (Calif.) Castle Park receiver Martin Bayless Jr. (6-2, 200) has been able to see the country.
His father, Martin Sr., played in the NFL for 13 years and has been coaching in the NFL for the past five, currently serving as the Houston Texans assistant defensive backs coach.
Each summer since he was starting high school, the two would take trips to two different college camps for the younger Bayless to get a chance to compete with seniors-to-be.
This summer, Bayless is now in that age group, and as tradition dictates, he went to two camps, just completing his participation at the USC and UCLA camps.
“It was a couple weeks of competitiveness,” said Bayless. “It was just fun going out there and competing every day. Physically you get tired, but mentally you have to keep on going.”
Bayless said that he enjoyed his time at both of the Los Angeles camps and felt his performances stood out.
“I feel like I’m getting a lot of attention from them (USC and UCLA). Pete Carroll, I like his coaching style and Coach (Karl) Dorrell, I like his style too,” said Bayless. “The only other camp I will attend this summer is Florida’s Friday Night Lights in July.”
The Gators are one of two schools to have offered Bayless, the other being their counterpart in the BCS Championship Game, Ohio State.
“They both have offered me as an athlete,” said Bayless. “I would play offense, but if a team wants me to play defense, I’ll do anything to help the team.”
Ohio is where the Bayless family roots are. Martin Bayless Sr., is a Dayton native and both his parents are Bowling Green State University alums. His uncle, Gerald, was a tight end at BGSU and played in the NFL with the Browns and Bills. He also had three cousins who were named Mr. Ohio, one being 1997 Heisman Trophy Winner Charles Woodson.
“I went to the Ohio State camp my sophomore year and I competed at their senior camp. It was a good experience there. I was learning and competing against the top seniors from Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.”
In fact, it was camp experiences like that, coupled with his knowledge of the game, that has enabled him to get a leg up in the recruiting process.
“I’ve grown so much since I’ve been a freshman, competing with the best guys in the nation and now it’s my turn. I know what it takes to get there,” said Bayless. “Football is actually more of a mental game. With my dad, he’s been teaching me different coverage schemes and passing route concepts. That’s helped me.”
And his father has been helpful in getting him to the right camps.
“Since he’s been in 8th grade, we’ve had a father and son project where every summer we went to two camps. When it was time for him to select a school, we didn’t want to be confined to California or West Coast schools so going into his freshman year, he camped at North Carolina and USC. And we’ve always gone to the senior camps because I wanted him to play up and compete against kids older than him. His sophomore year, we went back to Ohio State and Michigan. I went to Bowling Green and my wife went there. We’re from Ohio. His junior year, he went to Texas and came back to USC,” said Bayless Sr.
Bayless Jr., said at this point, he’s wide open in the process and in no rush for a decision.
“I’m still learning as I am going through the process. I’m getting a lot of letters from everyone. And I’m looking at academics. The bottom line, you have to have a life after football,” said Bayless Jr.
Primarily a receiver, Bayless had been in the Wing-T offense, which rarely used the pass. This fall, though, Bayless will be making the move to Houston, Texas, and he’ll play his senior year of high school sports in the Houston area, where he’s looking forward to playing in a pass-oriented offense. In addition to football, plays basketball and baseball.
His size make safety a possible destination for him, and the secondary is in the family genes.
“I like free safety better and I have good range,” said Bayless.
Bayless is already enrolled in the NCAA Clearinghouse and is a full qualifier.