Getting to know signing day flip, 4-star BYU running back LJ Martin

LJ Martin was a signing day surprise as he flipped his commitment from Stanford to BYU (Class of 2023).

Martin is a 6-foot-2 205-pound running back that preps at Canutillo High School (El Paso, Texas), where as a senior he rushed for 2138 yards and 17 touchdowns to lead the Eagles to their second consecutive Class 5A Division II Region Semifinal game (MaxPreps).

In his prep career Martin has rushed 641 times for 6150 yards (9.6 avg) and 60 touchdowns, has caught 54 passes for 627 yards and 10 touchdowns, and even went 5-for-5 throwing the football for 143 yards and two touchdowns. He also has five tackles, one interception, has punted 39 times for 1462 yards (37.5 avg), has 331 yards returning 10 kickoffs (33.1 avg) with one touchdown, 57 punt return yards on two punts (28.5 avg), three PATs, and a partridge in a pear tree.

And he plays on the basketball team.

Martin’s achievements include making the All-District team as an honorable mention after his freshman season, making the All-District first-team as a sophomore, and making the All-State first-team as a junior and senior, be named the District 2 Player of the Year his Junior year (HUDL).

Martin is rated 4-stars by ESPN and a high 3-stars by 247Sports (0.8873), who rate him the no. 37 overall running back recruit nationally for the Class of 2023. He held scholarship offers from Air Force, Baylor, BYU, Colorado State, Columbia, Fordham, Kansas, Kansas State, Navy, New Mexico, SMU, Stanford, Texas Tech, UNLV, UTEP, and UTSA.

Martin will compete for reps with UNLV transfer Aidan Robbins, who join a deep BYU running back room that includes Hinckley Ropati, Miles Davis, Mason Fakahua, and Nukuluve Helu.

I caught up with Martin to ask him about his recruiting.

BYU Insider: Why did you choose BYU?
Martin:  With Coach Shaw resigning, I had to reevaluate my recruitment and when BYU reached out, I could feel they were excited about me as a player. The following week Coach Unga and Coach Mitchell came to El Paso for a great home visit that confirmed what I believed and how I would fit. During my visit to BYU, I was able to experience the culture and really connected with the recruits, coaches, and players at my position. BYU is a good fit for me because of how they utilize the running back in the run and pass game.

BYU Insider: What other schools were showing you love in the recruiting process?
Martin:  UTSA, Kansas, Stanford, Baylor, Texas Tech, Kansas St, and UTEP.

BYU Insider: What are some of your favorites?
Martin:  I really like Star Wars, my favorite athlete is Lebron, my favorite artist is Drake, and my favorite cereal is Fruity Pebbles.

BYU Insider: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Martin:  “Run your own race.”


About Tyler Christensen 784 Articles
Tyler Christensen is a teacher, sports writer, speaker, and ultra-marathon runner. He is the founder of BYU Insider, D1 Recruiting, Virtual School Assembly, and After the Run. When he's not writing or speaking, he's spending time at home in southern Utah with his amazing wife and four children.