Georgia Tech defensive tackle Chris Martin said he had gotten word that coach Geoff Collins would have different players wear the late Brandon Adams’ No. 90 jersey this season. But he wasn’t prepared for the honor of being the first player to do so, which Collins announced that he would be doing at a team meeting Sunday.
“So when coach Collins told me, I tried to hold back the tears, but it definitely caught me by surprise,” Martin said Monday following practice.
Martin will exchange his No. 96 for Adams’ No. 90 for Tech’s season opener Thursday at Clemson. He has also been wearing it at practice this week.
“It’s been emotional, but I’m just glad that I have the opportunity,” Martin said. “Like I said, so many of my teammates deserve to be wearing this number. I just appreciate coach Collins and his staff for allowing me to do it and continue to honor my best friend while he’s passed and keep on carrying his legacy and making sure we keep his memory alive through the program.”
Martin will be a part of the defensive tackle rotation against the Tigers, along with T.K. Chimedza, Brentavious Glanton, Jahaziel Lee and Djimon Brooks. They’ll be among the most significant snaps that the junior has played in his career. Martin said that he has been motivated to improve and play with effort as a way of honoring Adams.
“I would say that my ability to play hard is kind of my edge,” Martin said. “I’ve just tried to become a lot more technical, thanks to (defensive line coach Larry Knight) and (defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker) and staying after and really working on fundamentals.”
Martin will be facing a Clemson offensive line boasting experience and size.
“They’re a great offensive line, and like we’ve talked about at our team meeting (Monday), we don’t fear, but we definitely respect them a lot, for sure,” Martin said. “We’re looking forward to playing against them.”