Like so many others, Markelle Martin dreamed of the day he would have the opportunity to play professional football.
In a way, that moment arrived a little more than a week ago when he arrived in Nashville for the Tennessee Titans rookie orientation.
“Sometimes you just can’t believe it’s real,” the safety said late last week. “You can’t believe it’s happening. We’re blessed to be here and it’s a great opportunity to continue to play football. It’s just an amazing feeling to know that your dreams have come true and you’ve been blessed.”
The reality of his situation was reinforced Friday afternoon when the sixth-round draft pick out of Oklahoma State concluded negotiations and signed with the Titans.
In so doing, he became the third of this year’s seven selections to come to contract terms. Defensive tackle Mike Martin (no relation) and cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, the third and fourth-round picks, respectively, signed earlier in the week.
Martin was a three-year starter at Oklahoma State, where he earned All-America honors following his senior season. He also was the team’s Nate Fleming Award winner, which recognizes academic excellence.
He increased the number of tackles he made each year to a career-high 74 in 2011, when he also caused two fumbles and recovered one. He intercepted three passes in his career, all as a junior.
A knee injury, which required surgery, during a pre-draft workout threatened his dream.
Once he got to town, though, he was realistic about what he needed to do.
“This is a business,” he said. “Time to focus on football, learn the system and get comfortable with the guys here.”