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MICHAEL GOULDING , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Mater Dei's Frank Martin takes a selfie with teammates, Jedediah Smith, left, and Grant Crumb and Elias Deeb, far right, during signing day festivities at Mater Dei on Wednesday.

Signing Day extra: Mater Dei's Martin never wavered on USC commitment

STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA Mater Dei’s Frank Martin followed USC’s tumultuous season closely.

An early-season head coaching change and associated issues did not alter Martin’s goal – sign a letter of intent with USC, which Martin did Wednesday.

The 6-foot-6, 295-pound offensive lineman was raised to become a Trojan.

“It’s everything he’s worked for since he was a little boy,” said his mother, Shalini Martin, at Mater Dei’s letter of intent signing event at Mater Dei.

“That was the script,” Martin said, “go to Mater Dei and then go to USC.”

His father, Frank Martin Sr., said, “This is the completion of a dream for a guy who had this dream since he was little. To see these dreams come true is unbelievable. We’re feeling so blessed.”

Martin stayed the course, through the firing of Steve Sarkisian to Clay Helton’s hiring as interim coach to uncertainty who would be the de facto coach to the announcement that Helton would be the coach in 2016.

“I knew all along that USC’s a great school,” Martin said. “Whoever they got would be a reputable coach.”

Martin had been following USC football recruiting news intently in the days and hours leading to signing day. He knew, for example, that highly regarded defensive end Connor Murphy (Brophy Prep of Phoenix, Ariz.) had selected USC over Michigan.

When told that USC’s recruiting class might not be as strong as previous Trojan football recruiting classes, Martin was ready to respond.

“No,” he said, eyes widening. “We just got Connor!”

Committing to a college is one thing. Signing is another, and it usually is a stress-buster once the high school student-athletes sign their names to the paperwork.

“I’m just glad it’s finally over,” said Martin, who had scholarship offers from 30 colleges – basically, any college that that it had a chance to land him. “It was hectic. Now that it’s over, I can get back to work, get in the weight room and get together with my speed-training guys.”

Martin was All-Orange County first team and was named all-state first team by CalHiSports.com. He was rated by some as the No. 1 guard prospect in California.

FOOTBALL ENDS FOR STANDOUT

Mater Dei linebacker Jed Smith was the Register’s defensive player of the year for the 2015 season.

That likely will be the last football award he will receive.

Smith’s football days almost certainly ended Wednesday as he signed a letter of commitment with Army for wrestling.

He has been ranked No. 1 in Orange County wrestling at 182 pounds. Smith, 5-foot-9, medaled in the CIF State Meet last year.

Is he tempted to try out for the football team at West Point?

“No,” said Smith. “I’m just going to focus on wrestling.”

West Point long has been a goal for Smith.

“I’m extremely excited,” he said. “This has been a dream of mince since fourth grade. I’ve always thought it would be right place for me.”

BIG RELIEF

Count Mater Dei linebacker Curtis Robinson among the “glad it’s over with” crowd on letter of intent signing day.

“It’s good to have it signed, sealed and delivered,” said Robinson, who was named All-Orange County first team.

Picking Stanford from the field of 22 colleges that offered Robinson scholarships was fairly easy for him.

“I knew that Stanford provided the best opportunity for me to succeed,” he said. “On and off the field.”

Robinson (6-4, 210) had played receiver as a Mater Dei underclassman. He played linebacker exclusively in 2015, and expects to play outside linebacker at Stanford. Robinson, who reports to Stanford on June 18, will major in business-finance.


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