2013 NFL Draft: Sam Martin talks about being picked by Lions

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Here's a look at what punter Sam Martin had to say about being picked by the Detroit Lions on Saturday.

Below is a recap of what punter Sam Martin had to say about being picked in the fifth round by the Detroit Lions on Saturday. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)

On his dad being from Michigan: "My dad's actually from Connecticut. He went to Eastern Michigan for college. My mom was born and raised in Union Lake Michigan."

On his dad being a three sports student at Eastern: "He played baseball and he played club soccer and basketball.

On his dad's name: "It's Tom Martin."

On his stats bumping up his senior year and what changed: "I kicked off and kicked field goals in high school, never punted. When I got to college and competed my freshman year for a field goal spot and didn't win that job, I redshirted. So the end of my redshirt freshman year, our punter was going to graduate and they asked if I could punt the ball. So I started messing around the beginning of my redshirt freshman year and was hitting them pretty well. I think it's pretty much, a lot of these guys my age have been doing it since their freshman year in high school and I picked it up pretty late and it just took me a couple years to really get confident and comfortable with it. I always had a strong leg, but the consistency wasn't always there. I think after a few years of doing it, it finally all came together. As far as kickoffs, I've always excelled at kick off because of my raw leg strength, but the punting is so technical that it took me a few years to really just get it down. I think that's what the big difference was from the previous years and this year."

On being at the airport with his Appalachian jersey on Michigan fans giving him some grief: "Year I had an App State hat on and right when I got out of the plane in Charlotte someone even brought it up, when I was flying back from Detroit. I had a few people in the airport mention it, but no animosity. It was all in good fun. I was just asked if I happen to play on that team or not, which I didn't. I was the year after."

On feeling like he's still on an upswing refining his technique in punting: "Absolutely. I think that's a lot of things all of these teams that I've ever worked with a lot of the coaches liked was the fact that I am where I am now and I still have a ton of room to grow, I'm still kind of new to it. I think I have lots more to learn. I think I'm very comfortable with where I'm at and confident with what I'm doing, but I think I still have a lot of room to grow and that's probably the most exciting part about this."

On holding the ball for a left-footed kicker: "No, as soon as I heard about the Lions, I started practicing holding it for the left. It is quite different, but I don't think it's going to be a problem."

On if the Lions talked to him about doing kickoffs: "Briefly before they signed (David) Akers, coach (John) Bonamego worked me out, it was at the time they thought Jason Hanson would be returning and it was more of a priority at that point. Akers was one of the best kickoff guys last year. I'm not really sure. We haven't gotten into too much detail of what I might be competing for, but as far as I know, I don't know."

On if he was surprised to be drafted in the fifth round: "At my position it's always hard to tell, but I had a handful of workouts and a few visits, a ton of phone calls from almost every team in the League and I'd heard certain things from coaches about possibly being drafted. Part of you wants to believe it and part of you, especially in my position, you have to tell yourself to take it with a grain of salt, because you just never know. So I came in with no expectations. I felt pretty confident that I'd at least be signed at the end of the Draft and that I'd at least be with a team. I thought there was a possibility of being drafted and probably a better possibility than not, but it wasn't an expectation. I wasn't too surprised, but I was extremely happy."

On if he's still getting help with his punting technique: "I didn't even kick until my senior year in high school and there was a local guy named Jimmy Raptor who really got me going and taught me the basics. He's still a guy I keep in touch with today. As far as college, I never had the slightest bit of training until last summer. There's a guy in Charlotte named Dan Orner, and he's another reason to give credit for being better this season. I got with him this summer in Charlotte and he trains a few guys, Connor Barth of the Buccaneers and lot of ACC guys and he helped just fine tune me pretty much. I've seen him since I've graduated throughout the spring and winter training with him periodically. He probably has done the most critiquing to my form and technique."

On where he is now: "I'm in Charlotte North Carolina."

On if he had a Draft party or had anyone watch the Draft with him: "I gathered my family and my best friends, my roommates, but nothing crazy. I made it clear to everybody that this was just to watch the Draft, not to see my name."

On if he still has relatives in Michigan: "I have one cousin, my mom's brother's son still lives up there. I haven't spoken with him in a long time. My mom keeps in touch with him, but I'm sure I'll be giving him a call here soon."

On his career prospects being better playing football instead of soccer: "It's weird how it kind of happened. I was so one hundred percent committed to soccer and basketball my whole life and my high school football coach would always try to get me to kick, because they would see me at soccer games. I was always saying no, no, soccer, soccer, soccer. I ended up having a scholarship offers for soccer and I committed to Georgia State in my junior year to go play soccer. That's where I was going and then the football coach came to me and said, look, we really need a kicker, you're committed to a college, we'll do our best to keep you safe, just come and help the team.' So I said what the heck, why not. A couple weeks in I already started to get interest from schools like Auburn and stuff. So it was fun and it was new, I was just learning that I really liked the whole atmosphere of football, it was so different than soccer. I started pursuing it and went to visit Auburn and started getting calls from some other SEC schools and then as soon as I started getting some offers I thought that this may be something new and I would give it a try. Soccer was kind of getting burned out, I've been doing it my whole life. So I just kind of ran with it and never looked back."

On his reaction when the word came down that he was drafted: "I was staring at my phone obviously because another team I was speaking with was Minnesota and obviously about 10 picks before they took Jeff Locke. Then when it came around to Detroit, I had a little bit of optimism as I was looking at my phone like maybe, just maybe. When it came through, everyone was just kind of maybe, let's keep an eye on it. Then when it came through and it happened I kind of just stood up and raised my hand and everyone kind of started clapping and then I kind of went into a corner so I could hear what you guys were saying and tears here and there, but we don't need to get into that. It was good, it was nice. Everyone was excited."

On if he lives in Charlotte: "I do not. I still have my house up in Boons, where Appalachian is, and that's where I've been training and living. My sister lives down here in Charlotte. It's a good meeting place for my folks that live in Georgia."

More from POD:

Track the Lions' picks in our draft StoryStream

Presenting the Lions' 2013 draft class

2013 Lions undrafted free agent tracker

Follow all of the Lions' draft news

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