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‘I’m Gonna Do It All Over’: Nickolas Martin Talks What He Learned from a Collision-Heavy 2023

”Pain is all mental — to a certain level, obviously,’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — Nickolas Martin opted into collision after collision last season, and he is still recovering from it.

An Oklahoma State linebacker, Martin finished his first season as a starter with 140 total tackles. That’s the most tackles of any Big 12 player since 2018 and the most from any OSU player since 1984. That willingness to keep showing up for contact earned Martin All-Big 12 First Team honors, as well as his team voting him to be a season captain for the Cowboys’ 10-4 2023 campaign.

“I’d probably say before we started winter, my body was still recovering — all the bumps and bruises, it’s crazy,” Martin said. “But it’s part of it. I’d do it all over — I’m gonna do it all over. I think everybody was still recovering. Everybody was flying around on defense. Everybody was making plays.”

The Cowboys started spring practice last week, and Martin did so with a cast on his left wrist from an injury he said he suffered in Week 3 of last season — the South Alabama game. He had 119 tackles after the Pokes’ game against the Jaguars.

He said he “hurt it bad” against Houston in mid-November. In the three  games following OSU’s game against the Cougars, Martin had 28 tackles — or 9.3 tackles a game.

Martin said it hurt the worst when he would grab and twist, fell on it wrong or took on a block — you know, things that happen to linebackers rather frequently. So the answer was to tape it and brace it to hopefully limit the wrist’s bend.

“Pain is all mental — to a certain level, obviously,” Martin said.

Primarily a special teams player before last season, Martin had just 16 tackles in his first two seasons with the program (one while redshirting in 2021 and 15 in 2022). He had two games last season (Kansas State and West Virginia) with 17 total tackles, meaning he beat that two-season total in a game — twice. He also tied for the team lead in sacks with six and led the Cowboys in tackles for loss with 16.

Listed as a 6-foot, 210-pound redshirt junior, Martin already had experience being a part of a college football program, but he’ll enter 2024 with a season’s worth of on-field, in-game experience that could prove invaluable for the Cowboys.

“I think now it’s like me focusing on how I can become more of a student of the game,” Martin said. “I always have been, but now it’s like how can I figure out what the pieces around me are doing so I can do my job better for each other. I think that’s my main goal, focusing on picking the coaches’ brains, meeting with the coaches, figuring out how they see the game and going from there.”

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