USC Football: Trojans' Marcus Martin Declares for 2014 NFL Draft

Alex SimsCorrespondent IIIDecember 27, 2013

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As the USC Trojans transition into the Steve Sarkisian era, they'll have to do so with a new man at the center of their offense.

Junior center Marcus Martin announced on Twitter Friday that he will forego his senior season for the NFL draft.

The Los Angeles native was the only Trojan to be named to the All-Pac-12 first team on offense, an honor he received earlier this month.

Martin joined USC in the class of 2011 as a 247Sports composite 3-star and was named Freshman All-American after starting 10 games at guard in his first season in Troy. He remained at guard the following year, starting 10 games and appearing in 12.

He then moved to center as a junior, where he replaced All-Pac-12 center Khaled Holmes, who was taken in the fourth round by the Indianapolis Colts in last year's draft.

The 6'3", 310-pound Martin started 13 games for the Trojans this year but left the regular-season finale against UCLA with a knee injury, as detailed by Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times. He was also held out of USC's 45-20 Las Vegas Bowl victory over Fresno State.

The kneecap injury, according to Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily Newswill not require surgery.

While it wasn't indicated by Martin, risk of future injury certainly could have weighed on his choice not to return to college.

Martin's decision leaves USC's new staff with the task of replacing three starters along the offensive line, while also grooming the team's third center in three years.

Senior Abe Markowitz took Martin's place in the Las Vegas Bowl, while sophomore Cyrus Hobbi was listed as his backup.

Looking forward, USC should have plenty of help on its way along the offensive front. In the Trojans' 2014 class, their top three verbal commits are all composite 4-star guards: Viane Talamaivao, Toa Lobendahn and Chris Brown.

Depth will likely still be an issue for a few seasons for the Trojans as they come off of NCAA sanctions, so they could end up relying on another upperclassman to take over at center, just as Martin did last offseason.