JZ’s Scouting Reports; Nate Martey, “I try to model my game after the best”

In the city of Ottawa there are a lot of great football players. From tyke all the way to the NFL, from quarterback to kicker, there’s a lot of talent around the city and more recently than ever we have seen a lot at the defensive line position. There has now been 3 defensive linemen from Ottawa to go to the NFL in the past decade with Christo Bilukidi, Eli Ankou and Neville Gallimore, creating a lot of opportunity and making dreams seem reachable for the younger generations. Among the younger generation and an athlete that we may see in the NFL with Gallimore come a few years is Nate Martey. 

Martey is proven to be one of the best defensive linemen in the city of Ottawa, standing at 6-foot-1, 285 pounds he is a very athletic nose guard on the rise and needs all eyes on him moving forward with his football career. That career, which started in 9th grade at St. Peters High School in Orleans, Ontario will be making a stop at Princeton University in New Jersey, USA this year, on the way to the NFL. Although that journey may seem super easy to make, for Martey has worked for every opportunity that has and will come his way. 

After starting to play football at St. Peters in Grade 9, Nate Martey found a love for the game of football and although he wasn’t the best player he knew he had to improve and he did just that. “I wasn’t good. I started playing linebacker and being as big as I was it wasn’t the best position for me to play but when I started to get more into football and I did more to get better in another position it became fun to play.” Beginning to play more football and the main reason for the change of position to the defensive line came from well known Ottawa coach and trainer at Gridiron Academy Victor Tedondo who says, “He told me that he was a linebacker and right away I told him that he was a defensive lineman. Nate is a very athletic kid but he’s too big at linebacker and given his athleticism it makes him a good defensive lineman.” Although the interaction between both Victor and Nate regarding position was the first football interaction, they actually knew each other ahead of this and Tedondo tried to get Martey to play football for the Orleans Bengals way before he started playing at St Peters. When he mentioned the story Victor Tedondo said, “Nate was actually one of my neighbors when he was a kid. He helped deliver the paper and every few times I saw him I remember asking him if he’d play football for the team I was coaching in NCAFA. He always said he was a basketball kid but he did end up playing later on and it all went well for him.”

Martey started training with Tedondo at Gridiron Academy in high school after his second full season playing competitively with the Cumberland Panthers and saw a lot of growth early on, “His progression has been amazing.” said Victor Tedondo, “He has grown as much mentally as he has physically and he has become a great athlete. I saw it when he was playing in Ottawa and seeing him train, it was just great to see.” From training with Gridiron Academy and playing more with the Cumberland Panthers in NCAFA and OPFL, Nate has continued to grow and get better. He said himself, “I didn’t play the first year that I was in OPFL with the Panthers but when I started training I made plays all over the field and it made me think more about the future I could have in football.” Martey continued, “At first I wasn’t thinking about going anywhere for football, I didn’t even think it was possible but training with Vic and when I got better I realized that those division one and football dreams were possible and I was getting closer to them.”

Getting closer to the dream of playing division one football and continuing to get better as a football player, Martey was given the opportunity to play football with and against some of the best players, not only in Canada but in the USA as well. In 2018 he started playing at the Royal Imperial Collegiate of Canada also known as “Canada Prep” which is also the same school that Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Neville Gallimore had gone to before attending Oklahoma University. Going to Canada Prep only helped Martey for the future, getting him better as a football player and adjusting to the lifestyle as a division one athlete and he was even able to showcase what he is about as a football player. In that 2018 season, playing a full American schedule he was able to make 30 tackles, 18 tackles for loss as well as 4 sacks. Although he didn’t have any offers at the time he was just starting to have his name break the surface and after just four football seasons in Canada he had his mind set on the future. “I remember my very first offer. We went to the Grand Valley State camp, it was June 2nd in 2019 just before I was going to go to Loomis (Chaffee School, Windsor Connecticut) and a coach from Central Michigan pulled me aside and offered me.” said Nate Martey, “The first offer is something I’ll always remember because of the way it opened my eyes for more opportunities.” The next opportunity for Martey was something he didn’t have to wait too long for. He was given the opportunity to play a full season across the border with an American school in Connecticut, Loomis Chaffee High School and this is something you see a lot of football players from Canada, more specifically from Ottawa do. Playing football in the USA gives you more exposure to scouts at the next level, something that Victor Tedondo of Gridiron Academy is very familiar with, “We’ve had a lot of guys go (south of the border) and have success so it was good to get him that opportunity and see his progression continue.” said Tedondo who has coached several athletes to the next level, including Dallas Cowboys’ Eli Ankou. 

Of course the change to playing in the states could be tough to adapt to, though Martey didn’t have too many difficulties himself. In eight games across the border Nate Martey made a name for himself with 63 tackles to his name along with 40 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, and 3 fumbles (2 forced, 1 recovered), putting his all into every snap he played and showing all of the University scouts exactly who he is. After the season and over the span of the long off-season due to the Coronavirus Pandemic Martey has received multiple offers from division one schools, giving him a total 20 division one offers. 

Although you can look at his journey from the outside looking in and think it was easy, there are many reasons why Nate Martey deserves the opportunities that he has and will be getting in the future. Martey has been taught nothing but hard work and he’s done everything he can to be a bigger, stronger, faster and better football player, even trying to model his game after some of the best defensive linemen out there, “I look at a lot of guys of my size that are quick.” said Martey, “Watching the NFL there are a lot of great players out there and I tend to watch the most of guys like Geno Atkins, Ed Oliver, Aaron Donald and then I also have been one to watch the guys that I know. Guys that I’ve played with or even for some of them that have coached me too.” 

“At Gridiron Academy it is really a family. Once you’ve trained with me you become a part of the Alumni group and it’s really awesome because when these guys that have gone division one and they come back here they come to the gym and help the younger guys.” Victor Tedondo added, “Eli Ankou and Christo Bilukidi are two defensive linemen that have helped out some guys here and it’s always good to see because you can tell that the kids are getting better.”

Nate Martey’s support group, with all of the coaches he has is something that has helped himself and several others in the city of Ottawa and when talking about having help like Martey has had at a young age, Ottawa Redblacks defensive tackle Michael Wakefield had mentioned, “Its something I wish I had more of when I was growing up and playing football. Mentorship is key in football and its awesome that he was able to have that growing up in Ottawa, it has helped him out a lot.” he also continued and said, “As a big player, he has fast and great footwork, he uses his hands which is great and overall he can plug the run gaps and pass rush which is exactly what you want out of an interior defensive lineman. If he continues to get stronger I’m sure he will have success at the next level.”

Nate Martey’s support group, with all of the coaches he has is something that has helped himself and several others in the city of Ottawa and when talking about having help like Martey has had at a young age, Ottawa Redblacks defensive tackle Michael Wakefield had mentioned, “Its something I wish I had more of when I was growing up and playing football. Mentorship is key in football and its awesome that he was able to have that growing up in Ottawa, it has helped him out a lot.” he also continued and said, “As a big player, he has fast and great footwork, he uses his hands which is great and overall he can plug the run gaps and pass rush which is exactly what you want out of an interior defensive lineman. If he continues to get stronger I’m sure he will have success at the next level.”

Playing at the next level, Nate Martey has committed to Princeton University, being one of just a few athletes from Ottawa getting the chance to go to an Ivy League school for free, “The whole free schooling is a blessing,” said Martey “Not only will I be able to showcase my skills on the field and help out the football team but I’m going to be getting the best education I possibly can. I’m excited to have this opportunity.”

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