Around the Region

Recruited from on campus

Sam Markham looks at home with a ball in his hands, regardless of whether or not it needs to be dribbled.
Central athletics photo

“Sometimes, you’ve just got to get a little lucky in recruiting. And I think we did there.”

The way head coach Jeff McMartin summarized wide receiver Sam Markham’s journey to the Central football team sounds simple, but it’s definitely accurate.

McMartin and his staff put in the required effort to recruit Markham to the Dutch football team, and respected the player’s wishes to play basketball at Central instead. But they had no problem welcoming the 6-2, 170-pound athlete to the program the following spring.

Since then, Markham has made a huge impact on the program, setting receiving records and propelling the team to a 4-0 start this year.

“Sam has some really special attributes,” McMartin said. “He’s the fastest player on our football team – he’s got great speed. He has an incredible vertical. He has a tremendous work ethic – he’ll just go and go and go. He’s very competitive.”

Markham is also very close with his teammates, which was the driving force that brought him to the football program.

McMartin and his offensive coordinator at the time recruited Markham out of high school after being impressed with his performance at a team camp hosted by Central.

However, Markham made it clear that he wanted to play basketball at Central instead.

“We wished him the best. We were excited when we heard he was coming to Central,” McMartin recalled. “We loosely stayed in touch. We weren’t going to bug him or anything like that – just kind of watched from afar.”

Markham played in 22 games during the 2013-14 season, stating three times for the Dutch basketball team that went 21-8 and won the IIAC championship. But he realized he missed playing football.

 “I thought about leaving to go elsewhere and play, but I had gotten to know a couple guys on the (football) team and I liked Central as a school,” Markham recalled. “I had a friend on the basketball team who also played football. I had a couple long talks with him, and he encouraged me to go talk to the coaches to see if there was a possibility.”

Markham was invited to come out for spring football practice to prepare for the 2014 season, which he said was a shock to the system.

“That was a little rough. I had been out of it for a while and I was just kind of thrown into it,” he said. “But...

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Josh Smith photo

Josh Smith has covered Division III sports for more than five years. He writes for multiple publications, including beginning in 2012. He has won multiple awards for reporting and photography and lives in southern Wisconsin near UW-Whitewater, where he graduated with a degree in print journalism.

2011-12 columns: Jason Galleske
2010: Tim Walsh
2003-09: Adam Johnson
1999-2000: Don Stoner 


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