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2021 NFL Draft: Introducing Jah-Maine Martin, the engine of North Carolina A&T’s offense

North Carolina A&T State University Athletics

If your favorite NFL team is looking for a versatile running back who can do it all, North Carolina A&T State’s Jah-Maine Martin checks every box.

A sleeper prospect to keep your eye on, Martin recently spoke exclusively with MCM about his running style, how he managed to stay in shape throughout the lockdown, and why he wishes more high school athletes would consider attending a HBCU.

JM: How have you managed to stay in shape and keep up with your weight training throughout the pandemic?

JMM: I was at home when the pandemic started. I had to find a way to go with the flow and remain in shape. I had to stay dedicated to my craft because it was really about self-motivation at that point. If you really want to, you’ll find a way. We came back to camp and started working together as a team. We’re starting to work more and more. We get tested for COVID-19 pretty often. We’re starting to get back on track. I’m right where I need to be.

JM: That’s great to hear. You had a great season in 2019. Did you expect to have the breakout year that you did?

JMM: Yeah, I actually expected to do better than I did. I wasn’t satisfied with last season. I just wanna get better and continue to improve.

JM: Tell me about the transfer from Coastal Carolina to North Carolina A&T.

JMM: I had gotten in some trouble at Coastal Carolina. They kicked me out of school unfortunately. I was at home for six months. I was working out, but I was still looking for a place to go. Right before the Celebration Bowl, coach Barnette called me and offered me a spot here at A&T.

I had just publicized my release forms on Twitter. They offered me a spot. The rest is history. I did a little history on A&T. It felt like a great fit for me. I came here and gave them my all. They gave me a second chance. I’m so thankful for that.

JM: You must feel incredibly proud to represent one of the best HBCU schools in the nation.

JMM: Yeah, I definitely am. The people who came before us, this is what they dreamed of. Part of me wishes I came to A&T right out of high school but I don’t have any regrets about committing to Coastal Carolina.

I wish more high school athletes would consider coming to an HBCU. I know it’s hard because everybody wants to go big-time. I wasn’t looking at an HBCU either. Everybody’s dream is to go big when really, you shouldn’t be thinking about that. You should be thinking about going somewhere that treats you like family. At the end of the day, the NFL is going to find talent no matter where it plays its college football. I’m thrilled to be here. The HBCU life has been good to me. I fit in way better here.

JM: That’s excellent. How would you describe your running style?

JMM: I’m a balanced runner. I can run fast, but I can also lower my pads and pick up the tough yards. I feel like I’m an all-around back. I have a very balanced skillset. I love scoring touchdowns. Which running back doesn’t? (laughs). I love scoring points and helping my team win football games.

JM: Do you prefer scoring a 75-yard touchdown or carrying the ball six or more times on a long TD drive?

JMM: That 75-yard touchdown feels amazing. Plays like that take the wind out of a defense. If you score on the first play of a drive, there’s just something about that. Obviously those long drives can be painful for a defense as well. Both of those scenarios are great, but I particularly enjoy a long touchdown run.

JM: If you could take a handoff from one NFL quarterback, who would you choose and why?

JMM: I would say Tom Brady. That’s the GOAT right there. I’ve always been a Tom Brady fan. He really is the GOAT.

JM: I’ve appreciated your time today. In closing, what’s next for Jah-Maine Martin?

JMM: We have to wait and see what’s going to happen this season. I’m at North Carolina A&T for now. We’re all waiting to see what comes next.