Feb. 25, 2009
By WILLIAM REINER
The Daily O'Collegian
It was almost surreal.
It was just another national anthem to the 70,000 in Arrowhead Stadium, but to John Martin it was more.
Singing the national anthem for the Big 12 Championship game served as a bridge between the former Baylor receiver's two great loves: football and music.
The front man for pop/rock hopefuls August Rose went from playing with Matt Holliday and Josh Fields to hanging up his cleats for a guitar after four years of injury-shortened seasons at Baylor.
Martin was never the biggest or strongest player during his days at Stillwater High School. But the receiver did have one advantage over his opponents: focus. It began during his sophomore year he was part of an 18-point comeback victory against Tulsa-Union in the state playoffs.
But he had few offers to play college football in 1999. Even his hometown Oklahoma State University held little interest in the 6-foot wide receiver, who was named to the 6A Oklahoma All-State team as a senior. Martin would find a home at Baylor University, where his playing days would be cut short because of concussions.
"The one thing that stood out about John was his gold and blue horizontal striped leggings," said Dave Lombard, who remembers John from his days at Stillwater. "He played bigger than he was."
Martin said he began to devote more time to his music while earning his master's degree at Baylor.
"Being an athlete is almost like a full-time job," Martin said. "Between workouts, class, practice and meetings, it didn't leave much time for anything else.
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