Jesuit grad Martin excelling as NFL scout
This is when Mike Martin proves his worth.
As the Southeast region college scout for the Houston Texans, the NFL draft is the culmination of countless hours of research and interviews Martin has conducted in the past year.
As a scout, Martin, a Jesuit High graduate, spends roughly 200 nights on the road each year. He attends games, visits schools and is present for combines and pro days.
Upon arrival at a college or university campus, Martin watches film on the prospect and interviews anyone who will speak about him, from trainers to academic personnel.
Like a buyer shopping for a new car, Martin wants to know as much as he can about the player.
“Do they have the intangibles, leadership, off-field incidents?” he said. “You want to make sure you have an idea of what you're investing. It's the same as what most Fortune 500 companies look for.”
Martin's résumé includes Texans All-Pro offensive tackle Duane Brown and quarterback T.J. Yates. Martin also played a significant role in bringing in an undrafted running back by the name of Arian Foster in 2009.
During his high school football days at Jesuit, the defensive back from Town 'N Country said working in the NFL as a scout, not a player, was the furthest thing from his mind.
“Growing up, you always dream about being a player, never being the guy who finds the player,” Martin said.
Martin started his career in the NFL as an intern with the Tennessee Titans in 2002, his senior year at Vanderbilt University.
“It was senior year and it was required to do an internship,” Martin said. “There were a few guys in my program, also football players, and we said it would be cool to do an internship with the Titans.”
The Titans hired Martin to work in the entertainment department.
His duties included traveling with the team mascot and assisting with the cheerleaders' photo shoot.
“I was doing everything but football,” he said.
Martin could have made it as a pro football player. At Vanderbilt, where he played defensive back and on special teams, Martin was a finalist for the 2003 Male SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and graduated cum laude in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science degree in human and organizational developmental studies. He earned his master's degree in organizational leadership in 2003.
Yet Martin felt hanging up his cleats was in his best interest.
“I worked out with some teams,” he said. “There were some AFL and CFL possibilities, but I had seen so many of my friends and my brother get chewed up and spit out trying to chase their dreams. I knew I would be on the back of the roster and, at best, practice teams.”
So Martin sought work elsewhere. He considered American Express and other corporate positions.
Then one day, Martin received an unexpected phone call for an unexpected opportunity. The call was from Mark Dominik, then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' director of pro personnel and now their general manager.
Martin said Dominik “asked about a pro personnel position. I was in Arizona accepting a management job with Cintas. They make uniforms. I really wasn't excited to get that job, but it made sense salary-wise.”
After being hired by the Bucs in 2003, Martin moved to pro scouting in 2004 and spent his last two seasons in Tampa as the national combine scout. He was hired by the Texans in the spring of 2007 as a college scout.
Martin's goal is to become a general manager.
“That's the plan,” he said. “I didn't dream this growing up. I get paid to watch football. One, I get to stay around the game I love so much and, two, I get to play a role in young men's lives.
“You invest so much into these guys. Even though you don't draft them, you want them to be successful.”
It's official: Hillsborough high schools move to 8:30 a.m. start time, elementary schools to go earlier