Dawson County High School senior athlete Zack Martin was all smiles on March 19 when NAPA Auto Parts, and former NFL player and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Larry Csonka, announced Martin as a Blue Collar Player of the Year. An awards banquet was held at the Bearfoot Tavern in Macon, Ga.
Martin was one of only 10 high school football players from the state of Georgia to receive the award.
The award was created to honor hard working, blue collar players that, according to Csonka, show up for work every day and never complain unsung heroes who spend little time in the spotlight, but play pivotal roles in their teams success.
DCHS Athletic Director, Grady Turner said there is no one more deserving of the award than Martin.
He is the epitome of that award, said Turner. He is a rugged kind of player, and he can always be counted on day-to-day. All season long when we had to have something, Zack was it. I am so proud of him. And, he has made Dawson County so proud.
Martin said he was excited when DCHS Head Football Coach, Jeff Lee informed him of receiving the award.
I was really excited when Coach Lee told me, said Martin. To Martins knowledge, no other player at DCHS has received the Blue Collar Player award.
In addition to receiving recognition from Csonka, Martin said he had the opportunity to talk with the Hall of Famer after the banquet, and Csonka offered valuable advice for Martins future playing at the collegiate level.
I was really excited to be able to meet Larry, said Martin. He shared some of his football stories with me but his biggest piece of advice was to always play hard. He said, you may not jump the highest or run the fastest, but you can always play the hardest.
Martin said he would use Csonkas advice on the field at Union College in Barbourville, Ky., where he will attend and play football next fall. He received a scholarship to play at Union where he has a good chance to hold a starting linebacker position for the Bulldogs.
Martins mother Rita Gilleland said she could not be happier. Im just so proud of his accomplishments, and Im looking forward to seeing what he can accomplish at the college level, she said.