VIDEO: After a 2-0 start to the year, Eastern head coach Josh Campbell discusses his first year, the team's rebuild and the Golden Knights' offense. York Dispatch
Don’t play man coverage against Demonte Martin.
That’s the advice the Eastern York wideout gives to opposing defenses.
“I feel extremely disrespected when a player stands closer than 6 yards,” Martin said. “I feel extremely disrespected if a defense plays press coverage on me. That just makes me want to demoralize my opponent even more.”
The 6-foot, 5-inch, 188-pound senior, who runs a 4.58-second 40-yard dash, leads the York-Adams League in almost every receiving category this season. Martin has caught 56 passes for 882 yards and 17 touchdowns, all of which lead the league.
“I think he’s one step above everyone else,” Eastern York head coach Josh Campbell said. “Just like York High and Dallastown each have a running back who are above everyone else, Demonte, as a receiver, is like that. I mean, to score 17 touchdowns and for all to be receptions, that’s out of the norm to say the least.”
Martin was quick to credit the other top wide receivers in the league, such as Central’s Taylor Wright-Rawls and Saahir Cornelius. But he was quicker to say where he believes he ranks among them.
“First,” Martin said. “I just feel like I work the hardest. I never want to be outworked. I just don’t think anyone could play like me. (Central's) Cade (Pribula) is a great QB and the Central wide receivers are great. Saahir is a great guy and a great receiver. So is Taylor. I just take myself over them. I humbly say that I’m the best receiver in the county.”
College football: When Martin was growing up in York City, he told himself he would become a college football player. Neither of his parents went to college, nor have his four older siblings.
While Martin hasn’t yet enrolled in college, he speaks about where he expects to be a year from now in the present tense, because he said he will do anything to go to college and play football.
“Being the first to go to college means a lot to me,” he said. “I told (my family) my whole life I would go to college and be successful. I just want to be the best, and I want to go to college and get an education. I think about it every day. Going to college is the first step to be successful. My parents not going to college was a way to push me harder to get there.”
Martin has gotten an NCAA Division II offer from Lock Haven and another offer from The Apprentice School, along with interest from several Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference programs. He’s also garnered interest from Football Championship Subdivision colleges such as Delaware, Delaware State, Robert Morris and Duquesne, among others.
“Demonte is a great kid,” Campbell said. “To see him to go the next level, I can’t wait to see him do that. As a program, it’s also great to send kids to the next level. It’s awesome to see those kids achieve those dreams that they’ve set.”
Late-bloomer: Martin, who also plays basketball and runs track, described himself as a “late-bloomer” for a college recruiters, considering this season is his first standout year statistically.
Martin’s family moved into the Eastern York School District before he started high school, and he was barely involved in the offense in his first two seasons. The Golden Knights ran a wing-T, run-heavy attack in 2015 and 2016, which pushed back his development and exposure. Last season, Martin played well, but nothing like he’s doing now.
“I’ve been through three coaches in the last four years of my high school career,” Martin said. “That’s hard on the recruitment process and running a wing-T the first few years is tough. A lot of schools are jumping in now and see my ability to play football that God has blessed me with.”
Big improvement: Martin said his biggest jump as an athlete came after one of his best friends, former York High running back Khalid Dorsey, committed to play D-I football at Howard University.
“My biggest jump was my junior to senior season through that summer after my friend Khalid Dorsey committed to Howard,” Martin said. “I worked out every single day. Literally every single day I worked out.”
Along with Dorsey, Martin and York High star running back Dayjure Stewart are best friends.
“Me and Dayjure hang out almost every day, whether it’s getting food or an extra workout after practice,” Martin said. “We’ve grown up together since we were 10. That’s when I first met Dayjure. We played football growing up with Khalid. Then I had to move, but things happen like that. I love them like brothers.”
Eastern quarterback Trevor Seitz, who is putting up record-breaking numbers this season, said Martin’s work ethic is what separates him.
“He works really hard,” Seitz said. “This offseason, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone work as hard as he has.”
Seitz said because of Martin’s size and speed, “no one in the league can guard him.”
“I think he has shown, without a doubt, that he’s the No. 1 wideout in the league,” Seitz said. “He can do everything, catch short passes, deep balls and he can run. He leads the county in almost every category. I think he’s definitely proven he’s the best wide receiver in the county.”
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at email@example.com