TAMPA — Four years ago — before the latest national title, before the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback — then freshman Corey Martinez decided it was his dream to attend Florida State.
Wednesday when he signed his letter of intent in front of his family, friends and teammates at Tampa Catholic's Crusader Hall, Martinez made his dream come true by joining a Seminole recruiting class that will be considered one of the best in the nation.
Tack on the fact that FSU is now the defending national champion?
"That's actually just icing on the cake," said Martinez' father, Ronnie. "Hopefully during his tenure at Florida State he'll be able to at least get one. If he can get one ring, we'll all be happy."
Martinez, a four-star offensive lineman, began playing football in the eighth grade at Cambridge Christian. It wasn't long before coaches, picking up on his size — Martinez is now 6-foot-4, 290 pounds — knew he would have a future in football.
Martinez said he already feels a part of the family atmosphere FSU coach Jimbo Fisher works to establish in Tallahassee. He looks forward to joining his future teammates, and admits he's already dreamt about what his first game day as a Seminole will feel like.
"When I took my official, I was just walking out in the stadium with my mom, and I was just imagining the first time I'll do this," Martinez said. "However many fans are going to be there, it's just going to be so humbling."
Martinez and fellow Crusader signee T.J. Harrell, who signed his letter of intent to Michigan State in Arlington, Texas, where he is preparing for the International Bowl, were both four-year starters and freshmen the year Tampa Catholic head coach Mike Gregory, then an assistant, joined the Crusader staff.
So, Gregory said, today's signing day was an extra special one.
"It's just special to watch them grow up from being puppies, really, to being men," Gregory said. "It's what you do this for."