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Martin to dress for Rose Bowl

Whoever said you had to play in the games to have fun doesn’t know University of Wisconsin freshman football player Corey Martin.

Martin has yet to play a down for the fourth-ranked Badgers, but he’s having more fun than “Rudy” had at Notre Dame. Only weeks ago, the Wisconsin Statesman ran a photograph of the South Tahoe High graduate with a rose in his mouth celebrating the Badgers’ Big 10 title. During the celebration that followed a 41-3 dismantling of Iowa, Martin’s teammates even let him take a turn holding the Big 10 trophy.

But then the fun really began.



Late last week, Martin learned he’ll travel with the Badgers to the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl against Stanford in Pasadena, Calif. In fact, the redshirt freshman will don cardinal and white for the first time away from Madison, Wis., on New Year’s Day.

“I think about it sometimes, running out on the field in front of all those fans,” said Martin, a linebacker who likely will see playing time next season on special teams. “My mom is from Los Angeles and I lived there when I was younger. I’m not so much into being on TV, but it’s cool for my mom, because her dad used to take her to the Rose Parade. And I think it will be cool to run on the field as part of something that’s been around forever.”



However, there’s little chance Martin will play in the first Rose Bowl of the new millennium.

“My whole redshirt season would be over then,” said the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Martin. “That would be kind of pointless for one game.”

Yet, Martin has a role to play in preparing the Badgers for their second straight Rose Bowl appearance. He’ll pose as a Stanford defender on the Badgers scout team during Wisconsin’s five practices in Los Angeles.

Oh, and don’t bother calling Martin for tickets: He’s already doled out his allotted six passes to his mom, sister, grandfather and his girlfriend and her parents.

“I pretty much knew who I’d be giving them to right off the bat. But I wish I had more to give to friends and other family members,” he said.

Martin is satisfied with his own progress this season, especially since few people gave him a chance of sticking with the powerhouse program.

“People were surprised that I didn’t stay somewhere near and play at an earlier age. Instead I went to a program where the chances are really against me, and now I get to suit up back home and be part of the team no one ever thought I’d be part of,” Martin said.

In the process, the 18-year-old Martin can fulfill one of his dreams in the first year of his adult life.

“It’s been a dream of mine to go to the Rose Bowl ever since I saw the Michigan-Washington State Rose Bowl,” Martin said. “I remember after the game Michigan was holding their roses in the air and I got all tingly and I wanted to be there someday. But I didn’t think it would be my first year at Wisconsin.”

Now, if Martin can only talk Badgers senior running back Ron Dayne into letting him borrow the Heisman Trophy he’s almost assured to receive on Saturday in New York.

“I don’t know. We’ll have to see if Ron lets me,” Martin said.


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