Asa Martin Brings Excitement to the Future of Auburn Backfield
Asa Martin, the 2017 Mr Football in Alabama plans on a big career at Auburn (photo: Julie Bennett/al.com)
Austin High running back Asa Martin said he had set a goal before his senior season to win the Alabama Mr. Football Award. Tuesday evening in Montgomery, Auburn’s early signee saw his goal rewarded. The No. 1 running back in Alabama (No.7 nationally) became the fourth Auburn Tiger during the Gus Malzahn era to win the state’s highest high school honor.
“It’s something I’ve been working for a long time, as long as I can remember” said Martin. “It’s an award that a lot of great athletes have won. Kerryon Johnson won it a few years ago, so it’s an award I’m really proud of winning.”
And many have compared Martin to Johnson. They have similar builds, similar running styles, and are versatile players who can do a lot more than carry the rock. In addition to running for 2,228 yards and 33 touchdowns, Martin also played cornerback and caught 20 passes for 399 yards and two TD’s, while throwing for two more scores.
His bio on 24/7 Sports reads like it could be describing Kerryon Johnson: “Martin can do a lot of things on the football field and is a slippery, crafty runner [who] plays bigger than his size and has no problem putting his shoulder down.”
Those “lot of things” include the critical blocking ability that elite backs have. When he signed in December, Coach Malzahn said he was a very good protector. “A lot of guys in high school have to learn to protect,” said Gus. “He already has that figured out. I think that’s big.”
In addition to the Alabama Mr. Football Award, Martin and Johnson both won the Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year and the Huntsville Region Player of the Year. Johnson won that award in 2012 and 2014.
Martin said he believes, “[Kerryon’s] style is just like mine. When I see what he’s been able to do, it makes me excited about the future.” With K.J. leaving for the NFL, Martin’s decision to be a Tiger makes a lot of Auburn fans excited about the future too.
ASA Martin highlights: