Ask any college football fan about USC wide receivers coach Tamaurice Martin, better known as “Tee” Martin and they will tell you – he was the quarterback who led the Tennessee Volunteers in 1998 to its first college football national championship in 47 years.
After Tennessee, the Pittsburg Steelers selected Martin in the fifth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. Martin would go on to play for NFL Europe, the Oakland Raiders, and in the Canadian Football League.
Prior to joining USC as the receivers coach and pass game coordinator, Martin coached at Morehouse College, the University of New Mexico, and Kentucky. Ranked as one of the top 10 recruiters in college football, Martin has coached former USC receivers and current NFL players, Marqise Lee, Robert Woods, Nelson Aquilar and current USC receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster.
LAS: You have had the opportunity to coach players who are now in the NFL. Are you still in touch with your former players?
TM: Yes, I check on them and see how they are doing. Nelson (Aquilar) just had his first pro game recently on Monday night. You know you’re a coach on the field but you are also a mentor to them. I am somebody that wants to be in their life for the rest of their lives.
LAS: How has your experience as a quarterback helped you as a receiver’s coach?
TM: I coach wide receivers as if they are quarterbacks and based on what the quarterback sees. Every wide-out think he’s open on every run but I help them to see the whole picture, to understand why their route is important even if they don’t get the ball on a particular play. I want them to know more than just what their job is. I want them to know what everybody’s job is.
LAS: Talk about how special JuJu Smith-Schuster is?
TM: He’s really special. He’s just 18, but he’s mature physically and mentally.
He competes at everything and he gives you everything he has until he can’t go anymore. Last year, he fought through some injuries that would have put most guys out for the season. He just sucked it up, didn’t miss a practice, fought through it and didn’t miss a game. That’s the kind of guy he is. I like his leadership because its natural leadership. I’m excited about what he’s going to accomplish in the upcoming years.
LAS: What do you say to your receivers to calm them before a big game?
TM: We treat every opponent the same. Whether it’s a Pac-12 game or a national championship game, it’s our philosophy that we focus on doing our jobs and all the other stuff is white noise.
LAS: How would you describe the play of the current USC receivers?
TM: We are playing physical, we are playing fast, we are making the plays, and hopefully we will continue to do those things.
LAS: How excited are you that your son has committed to coming to USC in 2017?
TM: As a father, this is the best of the best. It’s really surreal for me to coach at USC, and now for my son to commit here is really special.
LAS: This is a long way from coaching at Morehouse College?
TM: Yes – it is. I enjoyed my time at Morehouse but God is good. I want to be the best recruiter, receiver’s coach, and the best at what I do. The rest will take care of itself.
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