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Top MAC Football Players Of 2014: No. 14 Gabe Martin, BGSU Linebacker

BGSU linebacker Gabe Martin looks to have a bounce back year after a torn ACL sidelined him for most of the 2013 season.

Gabe Martin defends a pass against Tulsa in 2013's season-opener.
Gabe Martin defends a pass against Tulsa in 2013's season-opener.
BG Athletics

Gabe Martin is the second BGSU linebacker to be ranked on our Top 50 MAC football players of 2014 list (D.J. Lynch at No. 29 came first), and he is well deserving of this ranking. Martin will be a redshirt senior this year at BG and has made a huge impact on the Falcon defense ever since he first stepped on the field in 2011.

During the 2011 season the outside linebacker played in 11 games and recorded his first career collegiate sack in a win against Miami.  In his rookie season Martin finished with 22 tackles and earned an All-MAC academic honorable mention.   In 2013 Martin had an absolute monster year, piling up a team high 70 tackles, which included eight for a loss, and four sacks. These numbers earned him All-MAC accolades for both performance on the field as well as off the field in the classroom.

In 2013 Martin faced a major setback tearing his ACL against Toledo which put him out for the rest of the season. Even with this injury, he was able to pile up 35 tackles in the seven games that he did play in, including two sacks. Torn ACL and all he was still able to earn second team All-MAC honors for his performance in the first seven games.

Martin is listed as a linebacker on the depth chart and his 6-foot-1, 225-pound frame proves this listing. However, in many articles he is also listed as a defensive back because he almost plays more of a defensive back role for the Falcons' defense. Former coach Dave Clawson referred to Martin as the "rover". Martin plays as a hybrid linebacker, dropping back as an extra defensive back in passing situations.

If you were to watch tape of Martins previous seasons it would be apparent that in passing situations he would step out and either pick up tight end, slot receiver, or play a roaming zone in the middle of the field. The concern for this season is that his mobility may be limited because of his knee, but as far as I know Martin's rehab went very well and he is currently participating at full speed in all of fall camp.

Martin brings both explosiveness and experience that the Falcons will rely upon heavily this season.  Look for Martin to have a bounceback year and bolster this Falcons defense to be the best in the MAC yet again.