Cover Photo: WVU Athletics
During his first press conference of the spring, head coach Neal Brown was asked which players could fill the leadership void left by Dante Stills and what goes into determining if they are up to the task. After raving about how well Stills and Bryce Ford-Wheaton are handling themselves throughout the NFL Draft process, Brown immediately thought of one name as far as a player he feels can become a captain for the defense – Sean Martin.
Martin, who is entering his junior season, finished the 2022 season as a clear starting member of the defensive line. He played in all 12 games, starting eight of them. Martin recorded at least 1.5 tackles for a loss in four of those games and had his best day with a couple sacks in the program’s first win over Oklahoma since joining the Big 12. But it’s not just about his work on the field for Brown when it comes to his belief that Martin will step up even more this year, possibly becoming the player everyone else looks to for guidance, much the way the team looked at Stills. “Sean Martin’s played a bunch of football. He’s as talented as anyone we have. And my expectation is his production is going to match his talent, maybe even exceed that this year. But he’s also one of the best people we have in our program,” said Brown of Martin. Those are some big words and high praise for the Bluefield High School product
Coach Brown, entering his fifth season leading the Mountaineers, then expounded on what all goes into a leader. “Who are your leaders? Well, your leaders are your best players, your hardest workers and your best people,” he detailed. Once again, describing everything he feels Martin represents and brings to the team. “Sean Martin, he fits all three of those criteria,” said Brown. Brown then confirmed his thoughts on Martin. “He’s more comfortable. He’s more confident. Now he can feel like a leader of that group,” he added.