Growing up in York City, Demonte Martin told himself he would become a college football player.
Neither of his parents went to college, nor have his four older siblings.
His goal slowly started to become a reality this football season — when the 6-foot, 5-inch wideout led the York-Adams League in every receiving category. Martin made it official Tuesday, announcing his commitment to Robert Morris University on Twitter.
Robert Morris plays at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision level.
“Being the first to go to college means a lot to me,” said Martin in October. “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 held offers from FCS Delaware State and NCAA Division II Millersville, Bloomsurg, Lock Haven, West Liberty and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
"I love the fact that he's been getting so many offers," Eastern York head coach Josh Campbell said. "Athletes aren't given offers; they earn offers. Demonte earned those offers. He's a tremendous young man. He put in a lot of time, blood, sweat and tears to give him those offers."
Martin's progression: Prior to his senior season, Martin, who also plays basketball and runs track, wasn't regarded by many as a Division I prospect. The Golden Knights were a struggling program that ran a run-heavy wing-T offense in his first two seasons.
A year ago, though, Eastern hired Campbell, Trevor Seitz decided to play football and be the team's quarterback and Martin improved into the top wideout in the league. He led the York-Adams League with 61 receptions, 1,018 yards and 19 touchdowns for an Eastern York offense that was one of the most potent in the league. He was an all-state tight end in Class 4-A.
"It’s such a unique situation," Campbell said. "When I first got the job a year ago, I talked to Demonte about his aspirations, and he told me he wanted to play Division I football. I reached out to some of the schools that were talking to him, and without saying which school it was, the coach said he wasn't a good enough athlete to be in their program. I was up front with Demonte, and that really put a fuel to his fire, and he worked extremely hard."
About RMU: The Colonials are coming off a 2-9 season in the Northeast Conference. The last time RMU made the FCS playoffs was in 2010, when the Colonials lost to powerhouse North Dakota State in the first round.
"I am excited to say the least for whatever the future has for him," Campbell said. "I know his work ethic is second to none. I know he has big dreams and aspirations. I am excited to see what can come of his dream.
Other commits: Martin is one of a few Y-A League seniors to commit to NCAA Division I colleges this season. Central York quarterback Cade Pribula signed his national letter of intent in December to play for FCS Delaware. West York running back Ay'Jaun Marshall announced his commitment to Football Bowl Subdivision West Point on Monday and York High running back Dayjure Stewart orally committed to FCS Illinois State minutes after Martin on Tuesday.
"It’s a dream come true for all of us," said Stewart, who grew up as close friends with Martin and York High grad and Howard University running back Khalid Dorsey. "We've got to thank God. We all grew up together and worked together for the last 10 years. We worked hard together and now we get to go to college. It's a blessing."
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.