When offensive tackle Koda Martin announced his decision to join Syracuse as a graduate transfer, all the talk was about his connections to the program. After all, when you’re married to Dino Babers‘ daughter and you’re the son of the newly-named quarterbacks coach (Kirk Martin), that’s likely to happen. However, Martin brings much more to Syracuse than an off-season storyline.
Six-foot-six. 310-pounds. A full season as a starting left tackle in the SEC West. That’s what the Texas A&M Transfer brings with him to Onondaga county. With credentials like that, you’d be a fool to think Martin won’t be a significant part of the Orange’s front five in the fall.
Those that don’t know Martin’s story probably think of him like this: another large human that was born to play in the trenches. Not so fast. When Martin accepted his diploma at Manvel High School in 2014, he walked across the stage weighing around 250-pounds with nearly all of his football experience as a tight end and defensive end. But when Kevin Sumlin and his staff saw Martin, they saw an offensive tackle. At six-foot-six, the Aggies knew that Martin had the length and athleticism to compete with the nation’s best edge rushers. Unfortunately, the transition took a bit longer than they would have liked. Martin struggled to put on weight over his first year with the team.
In 2016, Martin was expected to be Texas A&M’s starting right tackle. Things didn’t work out that way. The Texan struggled against the Aggies talented defensive linemen in camp, and ultimately lost his job to Jermaine Eluemunor. Due to a number of injuries that season, Martin saw plenty of action as the team’s backup tackle. Martin’s time on the bench wasn’t a product of a lack of skill, but rather a tough transition and a number of guys in front of him being more ready for the role. Eluemunor, who took Martin’s job, was taken in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Last season, Martin appeared in 13 games and started all but two of them. The Junior tackle was a regular of an Aggies offense that totaled 2,767 yards through the air, the fifth most in the SEC.
In closing, it’s not hard to figure out that Martin is a huge add to the Syracuse roster. Jamar McGloster, who had a strong final season with SU, is gone and there was no clear replacement for him, until Martin arrived. Now, with the help of returning starter Cody Conway, the Orange has short-term stability at the offensive tackle position. Syracuse is poised to get more than four wins this season, and veteran tackle Koda Martin will certainly help them get there.