Kerry Coombs meets Cam Martinez, no answer for Buckeyes
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Kerry Coombs meets Cam Martinez, no answer for Buckeyes

Jeremy Birminghamalmost 2 years
Article written by:Jeremy BirminghamJeremy Birmingham



Stay in touch or be left out because Ohio State recruiting is a 24-hour, seven-day-per-week obsession. What’s the latest news as the Buckeyes build for the future? Get that and more Sunday through Thursday on Lettermen Row. Thursday’s notebook catches up with 2020 Buckeyes commitment Cameron Martinez following his first in-person meeting with new Ohio State defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs.

Kerry Coombs hits road first thing Wednesday morning

In his 30-minute Wednesday afternoon press conference, Ohio State strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti talked about new defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs and his return to Buckeyes program.

One of the first things he mentioned? That Coombs arrived at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center before the sun came up on Wednesday with coffee in hand and his energy level turned up.

He would need that, though, because Coombs left Ohio State early Wednesday morning and headed for Muskegon, Michigan, where he planned to meet with Buckeyes 2020 commitment Cameron Martinez — and, well, everyone else in Big Red country.

“He was at the school all day,” Martinez told Lettermen Row on Wednesday afternoon. “But I didn’t get to meet him [there]. I was only at school for a couple of hours in the morning and had to leave for my job. I was meeting him later that night at my house.”

So what did Coombs do? He just talked to everyone else.

“He was in the film room meeting with my coach, taking notes and stuff. He called my brother and talked to a bunch of my coaches,” Martinez said. “Then he was talking to my aunt that’s a counselor for my school. He talked to my stepdad for like an hour.

“I think it’s good he’s talking to everybody.”

Cameron Martinez-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football-Muskegon

Kerry Coombs and Cameron Martinez hit it off in a big way in their first meeting. (Cam Martinez/Courtesy)

Cameron Martinez, Kerry Coombs meet in family home

So after spending hours at Muskegon High School, Coombs finally made his way to the Martinez home and met with the Ohio State commitment and his family about 5 p.m. It went well, as would be expected because Coombs is nothing if not a gregarious and impressive person.

“Coach Coombs just left,” Martinez told Lettermen Row shortly after 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday. “It went really good. He’s a really good guy, and I can see why he’s one of the best coaches in the country. Just listening to him, hearing how he coaches his players, his track record, where he’s come from, his plan for me — I can see why he’s a great coach.”

Coombs had never seen or talked to Martinez before Wednesday, but the young athlete’s nine-minute long, touchdown-only highlight reel was a centerpiece of the discussion and provided a launching point for a conversation that wasn’t just about playing defense.

“He didn’t say he needs me to do this or do that on defense,” Martinez said. “He said he could see me on either side of the ball. He was shocked I had nine minutes of just touchdowns from this year.”

Coombs wasn’t just there to meet the football player, though. It was also a chance for him to sit and talk with Martinez’s family, and that too went as well as a first meeting could.

“I talked with my family after he left,” Martinez said. “They really liked him and they got their questions answered as well.”

What happens now between Ohio State, Cameron Martinez?

As far as the first meeting between a coach and a prospect, things went as well as could be expected between Ohio State and Cam Martinez.

But Martinez has been prudent and pragmatic since deciding to hold off on signing his Letter of Intent in December — and that remains the case now. One four-hour meeting with Coombs isn’t going to completely put to rest any of his concerns and worries. Quite simply, he’s got three weeks left of the recruiting cycle to make sure there are no regrets as he looks back on this process.

Still, Wednesday was a big step. It was also just the first step.

“Ohio State has done everything, and I’m appreciative of it,” Martinez said. “Coombs said he was coming back next week with [Buckeyes receivers coach] Brian Hartline.

“It meant a lot to me, Coach Coombs spending the day here and getting the chance to talk to everybody and me getting a chance to talk with him. I love the plan he has for me and how big of a priority I am. I am looking forward to the next meeting. I just need to sleep on it, pray on things and keep the relationship going now.”

Notre Dame remains in the conversation with Martinez, who has not yet decided on any other visits. He will have one more meeting with Ohio State, and if he decides to see the Irish for an official visit, it will over the weekend of Feb. 1.

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