With the No. 131 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected offensive guard Wes Martin out of Indiana. While he may not be as highly-touted as players like Dwayne Haskins and Montez Sweat were, Martin may be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to the Redskins’ offensive front.
When Martin was drafted, he tweeted out that he couldn’t wait to grab his “lunch pail” and get on the “worksite.” While that may just be a metaphor to some people, Martin means it very literally.
He was raised a farm boy in West Milton, Ohio — not far from Dayton. But just far enough north to be out in the country. His family was originally from Centerville, but Martin’s mother wanted to raise her sons, as she told IndyStar, “in a smaller town.”
Martin was a talented third baseman, but his passion was football. The high school he was districted to attend didn’t have football, so he enrolled at Milton-Union. As he started to build himself into a local star on the gridiron, he also maintained a strong work ethic off of the field.
Longennecker’s Jersey Dairy Farm is where Martin spent a lot of his time. From baling hay and moving manure, Martin always did what was asked of him.
“We bale a lot of straw. It’s physical work. It’s small, square bales. It’s hot,” Marty Black, who helped run the farm, told IndyStar. “He was always up to the task. The guys always looked up to him. In a team environment, Wes was the one who took care of everybody.”
He quickly became Mr. Dependable.
“It was always ‘Big Wes,’” Black said. “That’s all you had to say: ‘Big Wes will be here.’
Those long shifts instilled the kind of work ethic, drive and integrity that have carried Martin to the NFL. There’s no denying he also got a workout away from the weight room, even though he spent plenty of time there as well.
“You don’t come across many football players who love the weight room as much as Wes does,” said Mark Lane, Martin’s coach during his senior high school season. “He’s probably the biggest kid ever to come out of Milton(-Union).”
Martin got the attention of Indiana University, and even earned a scholarship offer. The Hoosiers found themselves a gem in the farm boy from West Milton, and he went on to become just one of four Indiana players in program history to appear in 50 games.
Heading into his senior season, Martin landed on Bruce Feldman’s annual “College Football Freaks List.” With a bench press of 525 pounds, Feldman suggested Martin might be the strongest player in the Big Ten.
“Wes is very, very powerful. His power index and all those things, he’s very strong, he’s very explosive, and when he gets his hands on people, he controls people,” said offensive line coach Darren Hiller. “He’s really dominant from a strength standpoint.”
With the undeniable mark “The Hogs” left on the Redskins’ franchise in the 1980’s, Martin seems like the perfect candidate to bring back the glory days of Washington’s offensive line. He’s got the work ethic and the strength to do so.