Posted: 2:03 pm Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

John I. Leonard WR Tavares Martin among ESPN’s top 300 Class of 2015 prospects 

By Jeff Greer

Despite a loaded Class of 2014 here in Palm Beach County hogging most of the attention, Tavares Martin gave his group of rising juniors some shine Tuesday.

Tavares Martin (1) may be the area's top Class of 2015 prospect. ESPN thinks so.

ESPN ranked Martin, a 6-foot, 160-pound receiver at John I. Leonard, among its top 300 Class of 2015 prospects. He’s the 16th-ranked receiver in the nation and 18th-best Florida-based prospect on ESPN’s list. Martin was given four stars and an 81 overall rating.

Martin, who led all county large schools receivers in receiving yards in 2012 with 860, already has verbal scholarship offers from Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida State, Marshall, Michigan State, South Carolina, South Florida, Wake Forest and West Virginia. Martin spent most of Leonard’s spring exhibition game at quarterback, but he’s being recruited by colleges as a receiver.

Georgia, Texas A&M, Michigan State and Illinois all watched Martin lead Leonard to a 27-17 win over touted 2014 prospect Travis Rudolph and Cardinal Newman.

Martin was a Post All-Area first teamer after the 2012 season, when he caught 46 passes and scored five touchdowns. In addition to quarterback and receiver, the lanky junior will play defensive back and even take on his team’s punting duties.

Here’s what ESPN wrote about Martin:

STRENGTHS: Displays good length and speed at the WR position. Demonstrates quickness out of breaks as a route runner and after the catch to move the chains. Will mix it up over the middle and competes in traffic. Shows good hands and the ability to pluck the ball away from his frame. Will break tackles after the catch showing wiry strength. … AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Needs to add weight and strength. We question his ability to break press early on at the next level. Not a precision route runner at this stage. … BOTTOM LINE: Martin has attractable size, ball skills and overall athleticism. Gaining strength and polishing his route running skills should enhance his skills for the next level.

Martin was the only Class of 2015 prospect ranked in ESPN’s top 300, though other players in his class have already received attention from recruiters. Palm Beach Lakes cornerback Maxwell Howell, who committed to Ohio last month, has verbal scholarship offers from Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana. Charles Perry, a powerful running back/linebacker from Royal Palm Beach, committed to Miami a day before Howell pledged to Ohio.