Former NC A&T star Jah-Maine Martin is headed to the pros after being selected in the XFL Draft.
The star running back was selected by the Orlando Guardians in the XFL Draft on Wednesday in the fifth round.
Jah-Maine Martin was well on his way to being the top HBCU player in the NFL Draft before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Jah-Maine Martin before the pandemic
Coming off a productive sophomore season in 2018, he put up monster numbers his junior season at NC A&T in 2019. The Conway, S.C. star led the MEAC and all HBCU runners with 1,446 rushing yards. He averaged a whopping 7.7 yards per carry (best in the FCS). Those numbers earned him multiple FCS all-American honors, as well as the HBCU Gameday FCS Offensive Player of the Year, presented by Protect Your Skull.
Most impressive that season, were his school-record 23 touchdowns, 22 of them of the rushing variety. Perhaps more impressive, ten of those scoring runs covered more than 55 yards. The most familiar sight that season was Martin running alone through the defensive secondary on the back end of one of those long TD gallops.
He ran with a combination of speed and power as the Aggies rolled to their third straight Celebration Bowl victory and third straight end of the season No. 1 ranking in HBCU football. Quick feet, sudden change of direction and shiftiness were his calling cards. The 5-10, 215-pound running back, like one of his predecessors at A&T – Chicago Bears’ running back Tarik Cohen – appeared primed for a legit shot at the next level.
Jah-Maine Martin finishes career, heads to XFL
The Aggies made the excruciating decision to sit out both the fall 2020 and abbreviated spring 2021 season because of the pandemic. Rather than declare for the draft after his monster year or after a year away from the field in 2020 and spring 2021, Martin decided to come back in the fall of 2021 with an opportunity to burnish his already impressive resume.
Another year like 2019 would likely have vaulted him into the top tier of running backs for the 2022 NFL Draft.
The year away from the field and subsequent entrance of North Carolina A&T into a new conference, the Big South, coupled with a nagging MCL injury, caused Martin’s numbers to fall last season. He managed just 134 carries for 522 yards in ten games for the Aggies. He averaged just 3.9 yards per carry and scored just four TDs. None were of the breakaway variety.
Martin went undrafted in April, but did receive a tryout with the Indianapolis Colts. He didn’t stick there, but he will get his chance in the XFL.