Martarano keeping options open

Martarano keeping options open »Play Video
Boise State redshirt freshman Joey Martarano spent time this summer playing baseball in the Chicago Cubs' organization.

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - "My dad had a bat in my hands before I could walk - and a football," said Boise State linebacker Joey Martarano.

And years later, Martarano is still around both sports.

At Fruitland High School, Martarano had offers to play division one football, while professional baseball teams wanted to draft him. The linebacker chose the blue turf at Boise State and sat out his freshman season as a redshirt.

Last year, coming in from 3A in Idaho, we didn't have as much detail on the defense," Martarano said. "That redshirt year was good to get the details down and this year I am feeling good."

But the current redshirt freshman still wasn't ready to give up baseball. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies right out of school, but declined their offer. So after a year off, the Chicago Cubs drafted Martarano in the 22nd round and he spent time on their Rookie Ball team in Arizona. He returned to Boise about two weeks ago.

"I love baseball too so I knew if the coaches were cool with it, then I'd want to do it," Martarano said. "It was a good experience."

"Given what he did this Summer, the opportunities he had and to come back and jump back in there and be where he is at right now, I am pretty fired up," Linebackers coach Andy Avalos said.

Martarano doesn't seem to want to pick a favorite sport. But he will one day decide and it will be the sport that will take him furthest into the future.

"I really don't know what will happen but I want to balance it through and keep both options," Martarano said. "Whatever is my best chance to make it to the pros then that is what I will do."

At fall camp, Martarano is taking reps as a linebacker and on special teams, but also lining up on offense at full back.

"He's a big athletic guy so there are different things that he can do and we are going to find him a role," Avalos said.