Ronnie Martin admits that life in the junior college ranks hasn't always been easy.
Ronnie Martin is counting down the days until January when he's on track to enroll at South Carolina.
When the former Spartanburg standout cornerback failed to quality after signing with South Carolina out of high school in 2011, he headed off to Georgia Military College.
Martin, who is getting ready to begin his second season at GMC, re-committed to the Gamecocks last week, and says that he's on track to enroll in January.
"It feels great," Martin said. "Just wish I could have been there right after high school, but you know things happen for a reason. I'm just ready to help USC have the best secondary in college football. I've heard so much about the secondary from the media [and] I'm ready to make a difference. We have to bring (a championship) home to the Carolinas!"
The 5-foot-10, 185 pound prospect is excited now, and has been rejuvenated by the opportunity to get to play for his home-state school. But that wasn't the case not so long ago.
After having plans of playing on the national stage in the SEC, the daily grind of being at GMC wasn't exactly what Martin had in mind for his post-high school career.
"Well when I first got here it wasn't where I wanted to be," Martin says. "It pulled me away from the way I used to feel about playing college football, because it wasn't the D1 life. But I had some teammates who were feeling the same way I was at first. So we just motivated each other during our time here and realized we are here because of our mistakes [that] we could have fixed in high school."
When South Carolina special teams/tight ends coach Joe Robinson joined the staff in January, Martin says the Gamecocks' recruitment of him quickly picked back up.
"Coach Robinson told me the coaches had a meeting and were talking about the recruits and my name came up," Martin said. "There was a lot of good things he heard about me -- that's what Coach Robinson said to me. So after that Coach Robinson and I started talking at the times that we can talk, and he wanted to know more about me and how life has been here at GMC. He's been on me hard ever since then."
Special teams coordinator Joe Robinson took over Ronnie Martin's recruitment when he arrived at South Carolina.
Martin says that North Carolina and Marshall are two other schools that started recruiting him, but that in his mind he was always going to USC.
The three-star prospect says that he's known that USC provided the right fit for him since high school.
"(Robinson) pretty much told me everything that Coach (Shawn) Elliott, Coach (Lorenzo) Ward, and Coach (Steve) Spurrier were telling when I first started to get recruited by USC [in high school]. Basically, it was that I will most likely come in and play, and that I will be able to help the secondary, and they will use me on the special teams as punt returner or kick returner. I also might play a little bit of safety after putting on a little bit of weight."
Looking back, Martin credits former teammates and former coaches for helping him get through a difficult time in his life. He's also come to realize that the entire episode may have been better for him in the long run.
"I learned that sometimes you have to go thru challenges in life to make you stronger for what's next to come.
"On the field, it's always going to be the same thing till my playing days are over: grinding, grinding, grinding and keep grinding, no matter how hard the competition gets. I'm a competitor, I love to compete, and doing that is what gets me through my time on the field here."
Martin says he stays in touch with his former Shrine Bowl teammates who are already Gamecocks.
He's planning to take his official visit to South Carolina sometime in December.
For now, he's counting down the days until he can enroll in January.
Martin sent a message to the fans as to what type of player they can expect him to be.
"I'm an emotional player, what they are going to get is me and they are going to get a born and bred athlete. I feel what the fans are feeling. I believe we will bring home a National Championship title, and I want to be a part of that."