One of Clemson’s top cornerback targets made a swing through Tigertown late last week to check out the school and campus for the first time.
While in the area for a 7-on-7 tournament in Atlanta, Apopka (Fla.) four-star Nikai Martinez was given a tour around Clemson by rising junior defensive tackle and fellow Apopka native Tyler Davis.
“I took a little visit Thursday,” Martinez said to The Clemson Insider. “So, I’ve seen pretty much everything I wanted to see. It was basically everything I imagined.”
Martinez (5-11, 170) was among the first corners to receive an offer from the Tigers when they began dispensing their initial offers to prospects in the 2022 class last summer.
Since then, he has kept in touch with defensive coordinator Brent Venables and area recruiter Todd Bates, while also staying in consistent contact and building a strong bond with cornerbacks coach Mike Reed.
“Coach Reed, that’s my dude. We’ve got a close relationship,” Martinez said.
“He’s a cool dude, a good coach, knows what he’s talking about and just an honest person. He’ll tell me anything I need to hear, taking me through recruiting – just not really going to Clemson, just to pick what’s best for me.”
In 12 games as a junior last season, Martinez was credited with 47 total tackles, including one for loss and two sacks, to go with four interceptions, three pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
The Tigers view Martinez as a versatile defensive back capable of manning multiple positions in the secondary.
“I can play slot corner, nickel, I can play it all,” he said. “So basically that’s a big advantage, especially being able to get on the field.”
Martinez feels Clemson is one of the schools recruiting him the hardest, along with Notre Dame, Florida State and South Carolina.
Right now, his decision timeline depends on when the NCAA dead period ends. If on-campus recruiting restrictions are lifted this summer as expected, then Martinez intends to take official visits before rendering his commitment.
“I think I’m going to just wait to see how this dead period goes,” he said. “If it gets moved back, I might commit earlier. Or if it doesn’t, I’ll commit after my officials.”
Martinez named a few things that he’ll be looking closely at when he makes his college choice.
“A school that sends kids to the league, really – not really just the league, but helps develop as a man, gets you ready for after football,” he said of what he is looking for in a school. “And a school that’s going to focus on my position and I can have a tight relationship with on and off the field, family.”
Martinez said Clemson is definitely one of his top three schools at this point in the process.
“I like the whole energy that all the coaches bring, the players bring,” he said. “They’re a big family, and that’s what I like the most about it, and they get you ready for the next level – if it’s on the field, if it’s football, the NFL, if it’s getting ready to apply for a job. I like that about it.”
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