By Craig Beilfuss

ColumbusSo, what’s it like playing for the highly-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes football team in Columbus?

It’s a dream come true,” said Cameron Martinez, the former Muskegon Big Reds quarterback and current defensive back for the Buckeyes.

After a stellar career at Muskegon, Martinez, a redshirt freshman, had plenty of offers, but opted to head to Columbus and become a Buckeye. That decision came much to the chagrin of some folks around him.

While at Muskegon Martinez was Michigan’s Gatorade Player of the Year, a two-time Player of the Year and Associated Press Division 3-4 Player of the Year. Those credentials crew attention from universities across the nation.

The former quarterback, turned defensive back and special teams player for the fourth-ranked Buckeyes, owns plenty of records at Muskegon. The 5-10, 192-pounder is majoring in psychology.

Photo/Leo Valdez

I think when you’re a high school player this is what you see on Saturday afternoons,” Martinez said. “This is what you look forward to. It’s a dream to play in games like this on Saturdays.

Martinez sat down with the Local Sports Journal after last Saturday’s 59-31 victory over the visiting Purdue Boilermakers.

Ohio State is 9-1 overall on the season, 7-0 in the Big Ten, with upcoming games at home on Saturday afternoon against Michigan State and the following Saturday afternoon they make the trip “up north” to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan. The conference title and possibly a spot in the college football playoff could be at stake.

I really can’t say too much about MSU or Michigan at this point, other than they have been pretty good,” said Martinez.

Martinez is primarily seeing action on special teams and as a defensive back. He works hard daily in his quest to move up the depth chart and, therefore, get more playing time.

The biggest highlight thus far for Martinez was an interception and a 61-yard dash to the end zone for a “pick-6” against Tulsa on Sept. 18. His best career day as a Buckeye came on Oct. 2 against Big Ten foe Rutgers. Martinez recorded three solo tackles and four assisted tackles. He has played in all 10 of Ohio State’s games thus far.

Photo/Leo Valdez

It’s a big change, but over time, I’ll figure it out and do the things that I need to do,” said Martinez, discussing the change from offense to defense in college. “You know, it’s kind of the sacrifice I had to make. I know the player that I am, so I never, really think about it. I just have to take it day-by -day.”

Martinez’ dedication to the program is a year-round commitment.

I’m pretty much here (Columbus) all year around,” Martinez said. “I’m here working out and participating in things that are required of us.”

Another highlight of his Saturdays happens even before the game starts.

It’s a blessing every week to run out of that tunnel,” Martinez said. “A lot of people don’t get to do that and I get to do that every week.”

Martinez knows he could have chosen to attend a smaller Division 1 school and gotten more playing time sooner, but playing for a winning program was the deciding factor.

I came from (a winning program) and I didn’t want that to change,” Martinez said. “We get to play for national championships and Big Ten Championships here.”

All photos below are courtesy of Local Sports Journal Photographer Leo Valdez