CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — The Illinois coaching staff praised Quan Martin repeatedly during spring and fall training camp workouts and the senior safety showed why in a season opening blowout win over Wyoming. Martin had a team high seven tackles, to go along with three pass breakups. The Florida native was named the National Player of the Week by Pro Football Focus and the Bednarik Award as a result.
“I’ve been trying to tell you guys since the spring, he can do it all,” Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters said. “You can see the versatility he brings, he was awesome in coverage. You know he’s just getting more and more comfortable in the system and he’s got to continue to play like that for us to have the type of year we’re capable of having.”
Martin had the highest grade in the country in Week 0 according to PFF at 89.0. His three pass breakups also led the nation.
“It feels good to have the coaching staff believe in you, believe in your ability and to put you in different positions to be successful so it meant a lot to me and I just go out and execute,” Martin said about his performance against the Cowboys.
Illinois visits Indiana Friday night at 7 p.m. CT in Bloomington on FS1.