April 28, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State senior wide receiver Keshawn Martin, who recorded career highs in receptions (66) and receiving yards (777) in 2011, has been selected by the Houston Texans in the fourth round (No. 121 overall) of the 2012 National Football League Draft Saturday, April 28.
The multi-dimensional threat accounted for seven touchdowns in 2011 (four receiving, two rushing and one punt return) and ranked third on the team in all-purpose yards with 1,194 (777 receiving; 274 punt returns, 113 rushing, 30 kickoff returns). His 66 receptions (tied for sixth) and 274 punt return yards (10th) rank among MSU's Top 10 single-season totals.
The 5-11, 192-pound Martin ranked second in the Big Ten in punt returns (11.0 avg.), sixth in receptions (4.7 per game) and 10th in receiving yards (55.5 ypg.). In conference games, he finished fourth in the Big Ten in receptions (4.9 per game) and eighth in receiving yards (61.9 ypg.).
"I'm a fast, quick receiver that can also return punts and kickoffs," Martin said. "In college, I liked to compare myself to (Minnesota Vikings) Percy Harvin. I'm that type of player who can produce big plays. I'm a good fit for the Houston Texas.
"It will be great playing alongside and learning from a guy of Andre Johnson's caliber. Hopefully, I'll get my chance to be that type of player one day. I just look forward to getting to work and learning the system and playbook.
"I was surprised to be picked by Houston because I hadn't talked to them at all during the draft process. I'm just so happy that I'm lost for words right now."
"Keshawn Martin is a gifted athlete who can impact the game in so many ways," MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said. "He's an electrifying player who has played a major role in our success. Keshawn is an explosive player with big-play potential. He's very fluid with the ball in his hands, and he's truly a threat to go the distance any time he touches it. Keshawn has a good football IQ, so he understands the concepts. He reminds me a lot of former Spartan Derek Mason, who spent 15 productive seasons in the NFL. Like Derek, Keshawn has the knack for making plays - as a receiver, runner, passer and kick returner. Over the course of his career, he really made tremendous strides as a pass receiver."
Martin had a career-high nine receptions for 115 yards and compiled a team-high 153 all-purpose yards in the Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin. It marked his second career 100-yard receiving game and first of the season.
He accounted for 122 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in MSU's 31-17 victory at Northwestern, as the Spartans won the Big Ten Legends Division title outright. Martin averaged 30.5 yards on four touches against the Wildcats. His 57-yard punt return for a touchdown in the final minute of the first half gave the Spartans a 17-3 halftime lead. Martin caught two passes for 57 yards, including a 46-yard grab late in the second quarter that set up Le'Veon Bell's 7-yard TD run. He also rushed one time for 8 yards.
Martin was named to the Paul Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll after accounting for a season-high 182 all-purpose yards and two scores in MSU's 55-3 victory over Indiana on Senior Day. He had eight catches for a season-best 99 yards against the Hoosiers, including a 47-yard TD grab from Kirk Cousins late in the first quarter. His eight receptions matched his career high (vs. Notre Dame, 2008). Martin also scored on a 19-yard reverse early in the second quarter that gave the Spartans a 24-3 lead. He also returned five punts for 64 yards, including a 21-yard return in the second quarter that set up Edwin Baker's first rushing touchdown. His 30-yard punt return late in the third quarter helped set up Baker's second TD run early in the fourth quarter.
He had four receptions for 87 yards, including a 67-yard catch, at Iowa. Against Nebraska (five catches for 58 yards) and Minnesota (seven catches for 77 yards), Martin led MSU in both receptions and receiving yards.
In the second quarter of MSU's 37-31 win over No. 4 Wisconsin, Martin scored on a 34-yard double reverse. He also caught five passes for 41 yards against the Badgers, including a 15-yard TD reception early in the fourth quarter that gave the Spartans a 31-17 lead.
Martin had three catches for 31 yards in Michigan State's 28-14 victory over No. 11 Michigan, including TD grabs of 10 and 13 yards in the third quarter.
The Inkster, Mich., native ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in punt return yards (second with 659), kick return yards (eighth with 1,100), all-purpose yards (10th with 4,013), receptions (11th with 127), receiving yards (16th with 1,714) and TD receptions (tied for 17th with 10). Martin accounted for touchdowns in five different ways during his career (rushing, receiving, passing, punt return and kickoff return) and scored 17 total TDs (10 receptions, three rush, two punt returns, one pass, one kickoff return). He is one of just three Spartans in school history, along with Derrick Mason and Bill Simpson, to return two punts for touchdowns (74 yards vs. Wisconsin in 2010; 57 yards vs. Northwestern in 2011). Over the last four seasons, Martin led the team with 59 plays of 20-plus yards and 17 plays of 40-plus yards.