Safety Martin leads way for No. 3 Cowboys

Want to catch up on Oklahoma State? Look no farther than

Markelle Martin’s wrists.

The senior safety from Wichita Falls, Texas, wears so many

wristbands – 15 as of Monday – that it has become a bit of a joke

among his teammates.

”There really is a story behind each of them,” said Martin, a

second-team All-Big 12 Conference pick for No. 3 Oklahoma State

(11-1), which will play No. 4 Stanford (11-1) in the Fiesta Bowl on

Jan. 2.

Want to know what’s been going on at Oklahoma State recently?

Just take a look.

A couple of the wristbands serve as reminders of themes

involving the football team. One reading ”One Heart, One Team, One

Family” was made after the death in September of Angela Spencer,

the wife of one of the Cowboys’ assistant coaches, Glenn Spencer.

One that reads ”I Am Second” was given to Martin by former

teammate Andrew McGee as a reminder of the importance of team.

Another says ”No Regrets,” because ”after last year, we

didn’t want to feel like we have any regrets this year. We want to

leave it all out there on the field.”

A couple of other wristbands serve as memorials, including one

Martin started wearing after women’s basketball coaches Kurt Budke

and Miranda Serna and two others died in a plane crash in Arkansas

last month. Still others are lighthearted – a Disney wristband

given to Martin by a girl at a grocery store.

One also shows his support of another successful Oklahoma State

program, commemorating the trip to the Women’s College World Series

this year by the Cowgirls’ softball team.

All the wristbands, Martin said, tell the story of his time at

Oklahoma State.

”I don’t take them off during the game, either,” Martin said.

”I just keep them off. I don’t think it’s selling anything. I have

sleeves on sometimes or they end up under my gloves, so it’s hard

to see.”

Martin usually is easy to spot on the field – he’s the one

delivering some of the hardest hits. Defensive coordinator Bill

Young said the 6-foot-1, 198-pound Martin has been a frequent

winner of the team’s ”Big Stick Award,” given to the defender who

has the biggest hit each week.

The Cowboys’ two-time Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon

said that when he goes up against Martin in practice, he makes sure

he knows where Martin is at on the field.

”He’s just someone you’ve got to keep your eye on,” Blackmon

said. ”He’s always back there, he’s a headhunter and he’s always

ready to hit you.”

Martin is fourth on the team in tackles with 65. He has broken

up 11 passes – second on the team – and has forced two fumbles. The

latter number is his contribution to what has been a ball-hawking

defense for the Cowboys. Oklahoma State has forced 42 turnovers –

tops in the Football Bowl Subdivision – and the Cowboys’ turnover

margin of 1.67 per game is second nationally, behind only No. 1 LSU

(1.69).

Critics can point to Oklahoma State’s average of 445.7 yards

allowed per game, but Martin believes all those turnovers more than

offset that number.

”We would like to get off the field faster, but even when we

do, our offense scores in two plays, so we’re back out there,”

Martin said. ”You’re going to give up yards, because we rotate a

lot of guys. We do a lot of different things. People want to be

patient and try to just work their way down the field and take the

time off. For us, we just try to get turnovers to keep them from

scoring.”