skip navigation

Sean Martin Joins the Big Ten With Commitment to Northwestern

By Joe Mertens '15, 12/12/23, 4:30PM EST


The senior will continue his academic and football career at Northwestern University.

OHIO CITY, Oh - A childhood dream of playing in the Big Ten Conference has come true for senior defensive back Sean Martin as he will continue his academic and football career at Northwestern University. He was initially committed to the University of Toledo. Martin broke the news on December 11 that he would be flipping his commitment to Northwestern.

“Northwestern began recruiting me over the summer, but it started to pick up in early October. They offered me on November 12, and I went and visited before they played Purdue,” explains Martin. “I had a great experience, met the coaches and decided to flip my commitment.”

Martin noted his gratitude to the University of Toledo via social media, thanking the coaching and recruiting staff before announcing he would be attending Northwestern. Martin was an essential piece of Head Football Coach Ryan Franzinger’s ’02 defense, at a cornerback position and guarding the opposition’s number one receivers. 

“I am proud of him. He earned that opportunity. Sean was a three-year veteran for us, and he is a great kid,” says Franzinger. “I think Northwestern is a great place for Sean academically and athletically. You are excited and proud whenever you see your players have that opportunity. The Big Ten is a great conference.”

Over the last five years, a pair of Wildcats have continued their academic and football career at Northwestern. Jack Kennedy ’19 accepted a PWO offer in 2019 and just finished his Redshirt Senior year. Aidan Hubbard ’21 is an anchor on the Northwestern defensive line. It was Hubbard who significantly helped Martin make his decision. 

“I talked to [Aidan] Hubbard a lot. He talked very highly of Northwestern’s head coach David Braun and mentioned the football program is an extension of Ignatius,” says Martin. “Talking with him helped me feel more comfortable with my decision. I am excited to get to play with him for the next couple of years.”

Coach Braun, after one season, has begun the turnaround at Northwestern. Braun was an interim head coach until being named the permanent head coach after he led the Wildcats to snap their 14-game road losing streak when they defeated Wisconsin and became bowl-eligible for the first time since 2020. 

“Growing up as a kid in the Midwest, you watch all of the Big Ten schools. I’d wake up Saturday morning and watch College GameDay and it was always a dream to play in the Big Ten,” Martin explains. “The opportunity to play in the Big Ten excites me.”

For Martin, his senior season was a learning experience, dealing with adversity. Martin missed a few games due to injury but turned his negatives into positives. A characteristic that the Saint Ignatius coaching staff noticed right away. “It taught me not everything will go my way and taught me to handle adversity. I ended up taking positives out of this season,” says Martin. “Not being out there made me mentally strong and prepared me for the next level.”

“Sean is always positive; he was a rock for the senior class. He kept a strong focus on and off the field,” Franzinger says. “Injuries are tough and they are a part of the game. That made it difficult for him to play more offense. Even though he played injured, our opponents respected him and threw away from him.”

In 10 games in his senior season, Martin totaled 20 tackles and one pass break-up. He was a feared and respected competitor on the football field, where teams would avoid passing his way. 

Northwestern will use Martin as a safety when he steps on campus in the summer. Martin’s speed was showcased multiple times for the Wildcats on the football field with multiple chase-down tackles and keeping up with the quickest receivers in the state. For coach Franzinger, he is confident that Martin will fit right in. 

“It’ll be seamless. We were always comfortable if Sean needed to press up and play the run,” explains Franzinger. “If you are adverse to contact, you will not be very good. Sean loves contact; I think he will be a great fit at safety. We talked about playing him at safety this season, but there is only so much you can ask from one player. But I look forward to seeing what he can do as a future Wildcat.”

For Martin he’s not entirely done with Wildcat athletics as he is a vital member of the basketball program. But his mentality is to continue to improve his conditioning before heading to Northwestern. “My goal is to get stronger and faster. They want me to play safety, so I will need to be able to cover a lot of ground,” Martin says. “I aim to play as fast as possible and work on my technique.”