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Woodberry graduate finding form at Notre Dame By Bart Isley Greer Martini isn’t an athlete who plays football. He is a football player. Sure he’s got a lot of the raw athletic tools, that was obvious when the Woodberry Forest alum earned allstate honors as just a sophomore and contributed to the baseball and basketball programs. But it has been Martini’s dedication to his craft and his unrelenting work ethic that have helped turn a player that absorbed some unfair, baseless criticism from recruiting outlets when he signed with the Irish (one analyst said he would be most helpful in bringing along some of his teammates) into the squad’s starting weakside linebacker. Martini has played his way into a starting linebacker spot for the Irish a year after starting two games while splitting time at the strongside slot. He finished with 35 tackles last year for the nation’s 10th-ranked squad that went 10-3, most of them against the option where he’s emerged as a specialist against teams like Georgia Tech and Navy (his two starts). Now he’ll move over to the “Will” where he faced some more doubts from program outsiders who said he wasn’t as strong or fast as
teammates competing for the same spot. Still, heading into the season, it’s Martini that’s at the top of the depth chart replacing AllAmerican and second round Dallas Cowboys selection Jaylon Smith. Being versatile is sometimes an underrated virtue. It’s a sort of bias against becoming a jack of all trades, master of none. Martini is proof that versatility, which springs from an in-depth knowledge of the game, an understanding of how football works, is a big-time advantage. It’s why teammate Nyles Morgan apparently calls Martini The Plumber according to the South Bend Tribune. “You can stick Greer anywhere, he’ll do the job,” Morgan told the Tribune. In the process he’s proven exactly what Notre Dame’s coaching staff saw in him as the first commitment in the class of 2014 to be true. Martini’s instincts and approach can overcome whatever perceived shortcomings he’s faced with. He’s made a habit of proving outsiders wrong and coaches right in South Bend and now he’s got a chance to make a huge impact this season as part of the starting lineup. ✖
BELOW » Woodberry almunus Greer Martini has earned a starting role as a linebacker for the Fighting Irish. (Notre Dame sports information)
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