"Yes, he did verbally commit to Ole Miss today," added the Ringgold head coach, Robert Akins. "And he will stay committed. I know a lot of these kids now a days go back and forth, but it does not matter who calls him, he will stay committed and sign with Ole Miss on Wednesday."
Robert Akins knows a little about the Oxford area as he grew up in Holly Springs (MS).
"It is a great place over there. I played at Marshall Academy and have a lot of great memories of Mississippi."
How did the relationship between Martez and Ole Miss get started?
"Martez was a late qualifier because he took the test late. Most people, like Clemson and South Carolina, do not run a lot of plays for their fullbacks. Auburn does not do a lot with their fullbacks, and they are basically being phased away from Coach Chizik. I decided to send off a video to a couple of colleges with Ole Miss being one of them. I sent one to Coach Nutt and him, Derrick (Nix) and Danny (Nutt) all watched Martez's film. Coach Tyrone Nix came over here last week to talk to him. They set up the visit with him for this weekend. We took a mid-week visit to North Carolina and drove straight to Oxford from there. It has been a long week."
When did North Carolina get involved?
"About the same time as Ole Miss, around two weeks back. They sent coaches Browning and Shoop down here and set up his visit. They wanted to send him to Hargrave for a year although he was already qualified, and Martez was not too interested in that. Coaches Nutt and Nix were so impressed with Martez that they ended up offering him a scholarship this weekend, and he immediately said yes because he was so impressed with the city of Oxford and the Southern hospitality."
Eastland had the same sentiments.
"The first time I met Coach Nutt was Friday, and it did not take me but about 10 minutes to know that he was the coach I wanted to play for," added Martez Eastland. "He is just a real good guy with great morals. I couldn't be any happier with my decision. I am on cloud nine right now."
What were some of the other things that stood out about Ole Miss?
"Everything, really. I love their facilities at Ole Miss. They are first class. I love the town of Oxford and the Square. It's what every college town should be like. I have been to a lot of places but no where like Oxford. It is just the perfect college town. I loved it, just everything about it over there."
Martez's player host also made an impact.
"Brandon Bolden was my host and we just clicked. All of their players are so down to earth and really easy to get a long with. I just felt like it was home away from home. They have the same type of personalities as my friends do back at home. It is just the overall perfect fit for me. I just can't wait to get over there in May and get started."
Ole Miss has some big plans for Martez once he hits campus.
"They think he has an opportunity to make an impact on their team next year at fullback," added Coach Akins. "Coach Nutt said he does not have a true fullback on his team and does not have one with hands like Martez. He is so versatile because he has great hands, body, and footwork. They really do think he can come in there this fall and contribute right away."
The Ringgold head coach believes the Rebels are getting themselves an impact player with Eastland.
"Like I tell everyone else, he's the only kid we've had in 31 years of coaching that was the best player at any position on the field. Whether we put him at safety, linebacker, defensive line, quarterback, wide receiver, tight end, or running back, he was the best out there. He is just so versatile, because he can play everything equally as good. He is 5-foot-11", about 230 right now, and has good feet and great strength. Martez is what I call a game changer."
What all did Eastland play for Ringgold this season?
"He played strong safety, tailback, and ran what Ole Miss calls the Wild Rebel. We called it the Tex package. He was so good at it. We just named it after him (laugh)."
Martez was named the Chattanooga Free Press Player of the Year for the second season in a row. He was also named the Region 6AAA Player of the Year and made 1st Team All-State for the second consecutive season.
Eastland rushed for 1,561 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior and 1,521 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior.
Yancy Porter is the Recruiting Manager for the State of Mississippi and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org