Mustang joins NFL mix

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:12 AM ET

Western Mustangs defensive lineman Vaughn Martin is throwing his hat in the ring for the National Football League draft.

The 22-year-old is one of 61 underclassmen the NFL has declared eligible to come out early for the draft in late April.

Matt Baxter, the Canadian director of operations of Enter-Sports Management of Atlanta, the firm that is representing Martin, said Martin has drawn a lot of interest south of the border.

"We've scheduled two pro days in March and 24 of 32 teams have asked for films," he said. "Houston Texans and New York Jets came up to measure his height and weight."

Pro days allow teams to test players. Teams can also hold private workouts.

"We've sent them films of testing. We're told his numbers were in the 99th percentile for someone his size and weight," Baxter said.

Martin will eventually head to Atlanta to continue training. He's worked hard in the offseason and added muscle. He's now six-foot-three and 328 pounds.

Martin remains low-key about what's happening. He sees it as a learning experience no matter what happens.

"I'm going to give this opportunity the best shot I have," Martin said. "We'll see what happens. I'll either be in the NFL next year or back at Western."

Players in the U.S. who declare early lose their scholarship eligibility and cannot return to school to play. That's not the case for Canadian. If Martin, a first- and second-team OUA all-star, isn't signed to a pro contract, he can return to Western.

Even though Martin is going into his third year at Western, he has been out of high school long enough to be eligible for the draft. He was previously at Michigan State and Milford Academy.

Mustang coach Greg Marshall said Martin talked to him about the situation.

"We've sent DVD's of Vaughn to just about every NFL team. There's been a lot of calls. They are pretty serious," Marshall said. "I understand completely. It's a good opportunity for him.

"He's working out hard and he's pretty focused and that's good. I've said many times part of what we do here is not just about winning championships, it's about providing opportunities for our players, whether that's in football, whether that's in other educational pursuits. Yeah, I'd love to have Vaughn play here for four or five years and he's given us two years, but this is an opportunity."

Baxter, whose company also represented former Mustang and current Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Andy Fantuz, said what really impressed the scouts was his athleticism.

"For a guy his size, he's not a plug," he said. "He was chasing guys down from sideline to sideline and that's on the bigger-sized CFL field."


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