Friday, March 5, 2010 | 2:10 a.m.
One of 70 invited prospects to the Trojans' Junior Day, Martin didn't waste any time in introducing himself.
"He told Kiffin, 'I'm your man. I will be coming here to play for you,'" said Bonanza coach Shawn Dupris, who accompanied Martin on the trip.
"It wasn't about him being cocky, because he is not. He's just a confident kid and knows what he wants."
Martin, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound running back and defensive back, is one of the Las Vegas Valley's hidden gems on the recruiting trail. Since he doesn't play for one of the area's more respected programs — such as Bishop Gorman and Palo Verde, which are consistently visited by college coaches — Martin has flown under the radar.
He has one scholarship offer — from Utah State — but has received interest from notables USC, UCLA, Nebraska, Tennessee, Illinois, Mississippi and Michigan. Michigan also invited him to its Junior Day, where recruits and their families can tour the campus, meet with coaches and gain a comfort level with the program.
"I like everything there is about USC," Martin said. "It was fun going down there and meeting all of the coaches. It's a special place."
Martin, who rushed for 1,306 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2009, will be a four-year varsity starter next fall. He started as a freshman and sophomore at defensive back and was a two-way starter last year in lining up as the Bengals' feature tailback and at safety.
The New Orleans native, whose family moved to Las Vegas in the late 1990s, has made a name for himself at evaluation events.
He's regularly clocked at 4.45 in the 40-yard dash and has a vertical leap of 38 inches. Also, he squats a respectable 365 pounds and benches presses 265 pounds.
"DaSean is physically bigger, faster and stronger than other athletes," Dupris said. "He is a physical specimen."
Martin was named the Most Outstanding Athlete at the National Underclassman Combine as a sophomore and will get a chance to prove himself in late April at a Nike combine at USC. The invitation-only event is widely considered the premiere recruiting showcase on the West Coast.
It's an event Dupris knows Martin will make a splash at. The coach feels it's only a matter of time until the scholarship offers starting rolling in.
"He's as good as anyone that I have ever coached," Dupris said.
Bonanza's Southwest Division, with perennial power Bishop Gorman leading the way, will be competitive next year with Desert Oasis and Durango expected to return several key contributors from their playoff-qualifying teams last fall.
Martin, who was a first-team All-Southwest Division selection in 2009, wants to stand above the pack — even against Gorman and its stable of multiple Division I athletes.
"I want to be bigger and faster than everyone I play against," he said. "I want them to really feel me when I run them over."
That's what it will take to keep USC interested. His introduction to Kiffin didn't hurt, either.