CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Quan Martin started his college career at cornerback and did well as a true freshman, tying for the team lead with three interceptions in 2018. After starting the first five games of the 2019 season, the Florida native moved to safety in the middle of the year. It’s his natural position, and the one he excelled at most in high school, but Martin had to fight for playing time as a rotational player, before starting the final two games of last season.
“I feel back at home, corner was just a different experience for me,” Martin said. “I’m an athlete, I’m able to play it so just being back at safety, I feel at home. I’ve been playing it all my life so I just enjoy being back there, able to roam around and take the ball out of the air.”
Martin used training camp to fight for a spot with the new coaching staff. Defensive coordinator Ryan Walters is also the safeties coach, giving Martin plenty of opportunity to be seen. Safety is a position that needs to improve for the Illini defense to succeed this season. Illinois ranked 11th out of 14 Big Ten teams last season in pass defense.