Rutgers' Martinek Gets Giants, Jets Workouts
Hopatcong star to audition for NFL teams Thursday, Friday.
Joe Martinek cherished seeing family and friends in the crowd while playing at Rutgers.
The state's all-time leading rusher hopes his efforts over the next two days help him stay close to home, but in the NFL.
Martinek will attend group workouts for the Giants Thursday and the Jets Friday after raising his stock with an impressive pro-day workout in March. The 5-foot-11, 224-pounder said he plans to show teams he can contribute on third downs, catching passes out of the backfield as a hybrid fullback.
"I just want to keep impressing the coaches and scouts," he said. "Just want to show them that I have the ability to play at that level."
Martinek spent three years as a Scarlet Knights running back before switching to fullback during his senior campaign. He scored 17 touchdowns while rushing 391 times for 1,770 yards with Rutgers.
But off-the-field numbers recently caught the attention of NFL scouts.
Martinek ran a surprising 4.4 40-yard-dash at the Scarlet Knights' March 21 showcase, turning so many heads ESPN reporter Adam Schefter said via Twitter that the 2007 Hopatcong High School graduate was garnering extra attention.
Martinek said he didn't let the pro day success go to his head.
"For me, it's calmed down," he said. "All I've been doing is working out, keeping my body in shape."
To keep that ball rolling, Martinek said he's been working out recently with several former Scarlet Knights in the NFL. He said Brian Leonard, a 2007 second-round pick, has been a mentor.
Martinek has become a player in the mold of Leonard, currently a Bengals fullback, in that he can block, rush off tackle and serve as a short-range passing threat. Martinek also said Patriots cornerback Devin McCourtney, another former Scarlet Knight, has given him route-running tips.
The 23-year-old said he's looking forward to the NFL draft on April 26-28.
"It's just two weeks away," he said. "I've been waiting since January now. So it's going to be exciting to get a chance and just to compete again. Working out every day is something I love to do, but the competition factor is big."
He also said he didn't have a favorite professional team growing up, though many of his friends are Giants fans and he's attended a few Big Blue games in recent years.
"I just grew up as a football fan," he said. "Just watched watched whichever team was on the TV."