Staying in state was pretty important for two of Maine’s top high school football players as they considered their college options.

Foxcroft Academy senior wide receiver Logan Martin had his choice of two full scholarship offers to play college football out of state. Fryeburg Academy senior tight end Eli Mahan had Football Bowl Subdivision teams asking him to take a postgrad year, after which they would offer him a scholarship.

Logan Martin

Instead, both chose to stay close to home. Mahan accepted a partial scholarship offer from the University of Maine, while Martin accepted a preferred walk-on offer. They were among nine players to sign national letters of intent with the Black Bears on Wednesday, the first day of the college football signing period.

“For me, family comes first,” said Martin, 18. “To be able to have friends and families and coaches and loved ones come to see me play football means a lot to me. I feel this was the best fit for me.”

Mahan, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 250 pounds, said playing for the Black Bears “is a dream come true.”

“I had two or three (Football Bowl Subdivision) teams talking to me, telling me they’d be interested if I wanted to take a postgrad year,” said Mahan. “But the opportunity to stay in my home state and play in front my family and friends for the next four or five years outweighed playing in the FBS.”

Mahan was a key player on the Fryeburg defense as a sophomore, when the Raiders advanced to the 2018 Class C state championship game. UMaine Coach Nick Charlton said he will play tight end at Maine.

“I think Eli is one of the best players to come out of the state in a while,” said Charlton. “He’s very, very talented, a really good athlete, a good student. He’s somebody who can be a really good player at this level.”

Charlton said the Black Bears have known about Mahan for a while. “He’s come up to our camps for a long time, He did it the right way. We’ve gotten to know him. I think the staff did a good job connecting with Eli and his family. He had some options and we’re happy he ultimately wanted to play in his home state.”

Charlton said Martin’s versatility and production were big factors in recruiting him. As a junior at Foxcroft in 2019, Martin (5-11, 185 pounds) gained over 1,700 all-purpose yards and scored 31 touchdowns. Maine’s high school football teams did not have a season last fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

“He’s very athletic and can play a lot of different spots,” said Charlton. “That stat of him scoring every 4.8 times he touched the ball as a junior is ridiculous. When you watch skill guys on film, you’re looking at ball skills and speed. But at the end of the day, if he’s productive, that’s the first thing you look at. We’re excited to have him coming. He’s a great kid and comes from a great family.”

Martin said he had full scholarship offers from Division I Wagner and Division II St. Anselm, as well as an offer from New Hampshire. He said going to Maine as a preferred walk-on appealed to his work ethic.

“With the COVID situation, I knew it would be nice to stay close to home and earn that (scholarship) money,” said Martin. “Nothing in this world is given. Look at our senior football season. It got taken away from us. I’m going to have to earn this from Maine. And I’m willing to put in the work and the effort.”

Martin said he spent some of last summer working out at UMaine with Black Bears wide receiver Andre Miller, an Old Town graduate.

“I’ve been learning some of the stuff they teach at UMaine, techniques and drills and perfecting my craft,” said Martin.

Mahan and Martin met a couple of years ago at one of UMaine’s summer camps. “We’ve stayed in touch and have become pretty good buddies,” said Mahan. “I know we’re both pumped.”

Wednesday’s signing day coincided with the first day of Maine’s spring football practices. The Black Bears are scheduled to play a six-game Colonial Athletic Association season starting March 6. Maine’s 2020 fall season was canceled because of the pandemic.

Charlton said the team was split into two groups that will practice separately until next week, when they will bring the team together for the first time since last October.

He added that the team will progress slowly to build up toward the season opener at Delaware. They practiced indoors on Wednesday but expect to be outside for most practices.

“We’re just going to try to get back into the rhythm of what we normally do,” said Charlton. “We’ve got to be flexible. We’re just excited for the opportunity to get out there with the guys and play college football.”

Maine’s recruits include three transfers: offensive lineman P.J. Barr (6-3, 285 pounds) from Bucknell, offensive lineman George French (6-8, 320) from Penn State and long snapper Charlie Eberle (5-11, 180) from Ithaca College. French is eligible to play in Maine’s upcoming spring season.

Other players to sign include:

• Defensive lineman Xavier Holmes (6-3, 200) from Clarksburg, Maryland, and Jireh Prep.

• Kicker/punter Cole Baker (5-11, 200) from Wrentham, Massachusetts, and Cheshire Academy.

• Quarterback Joey McCracken (6-2, 180) from Warwick High School in Lititz, Pennsylvania.

• Wide receiver Tyrese Baptiste (5-11, 190) from Everett, Massachusetts.

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