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Published: Friday, 1/23/2004

Martin to leave UT for Grand Valley State


The University of Toledo s collection of young running backs known as the “Baby Backs” officially has been broken apart. Sophomore Astin Martin said yesterday he has transferred to Grand Valley State in Allendale, Mich., in order to be closer to his ailing mother, and get more playing time.

“The whole season was an emotional thing for me because my mom was going through surgeries back home, and things were not as productive on the field as I thought they would be,” Martin said.

“There were a lot of things on my mind, and once the season ended I started to think about it a lot more.”

Martin, who led the Rockets in rushing as a freshman with 785 yards, had just 436 yards this season, third-best on the UT team. The 5-8, 180-pound speedster scored 10 touchdowns this season, but his yards per carry average dropped from 5.8 in his freshman year to 3.9 last season.

By transferring, Martin will be about 30 minutes west of his Grand Rapids home. Grand Valley is the two-time defending Division II national champion.

“I looked at several Division I schools, but when it came down to crunch time, this looked like the best situation for me,” Martin said. “It s close to home, it s a pretty strong program, and since it s Division II, I can play right away.”

If he had transferred to a Division I school, Martin would have had to sit out a year before playing.

Martin said the Grand Valley coaches have not yet decided if he will play next fall, or be held out for a season and given more time to adjust to the new program. He has two years of eligibility remaining.

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