According to Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, the Washington Redskins are getting a player who brings high football I.Q., a lot of power and strong work ethic in Martrell Spaight.
Check out these photos of Arkansas linebacker Martrell Spaight, the 141st-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Martrell Spaight puts in the work necessary to make his game better.
On an appearance with ESPN980 earlier this week, Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema exchanged stories about Spaight's work ethic which included rigorous sessions after injury and late-night workouts.
"I think there's three things you need to know about Martrell," Bielema said. "First is he's never been redshirted, so his best football's in front of him. He came out of a junior college program, came to us, never even started as a junior, and played as a senior and led the SEC in tackles. His best football is no doubt in front of him."
Spaight starred at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, where he recorded 130 tackles – 13.5 for loss – along with three passes defensed.
He would transfer to Arkansas after his lone season at Coffeyville.
While he contributed as a junior, his best season came as a senior in 2014, as the six-foot, 236 pounder earned consensus first-team All-SEC honors after recording 128 tackles and two forced fumbles.
Sure, he's not the biggest guy at his position, but Spaight can provide some incredible blows.
"Second thing is he's a player with an incredible amount of power in a short amount of time," Bielema said. "He doesn't have to take four, five steps to deliver a big blow. I've seen him take a running back with one step. I've seen him destroy a guard trying to get up on him. He's just a very powerful [player]. We had a term here – he knocked out three players in one practice – and we called it getting 'Spaighted.'"
And the Redskins are also getting "just an incredible kid."
"I remember during the recruiting process, he was held out of a game in junior college," Bielema said. "His coaches told him he couldn't play, the doctors, you know, they said 'Ahh, I think he can play.' He was mad he was being held out, but [they] thought it was a better idea. Well they watched film, they're walking out about four hours after the game, and they hear some noise out on the practice field. Martrell is out – they took away his uniform and his gear because they knew he would try to suit up for the game – so he had stolen the gear out of his buddy's locker, dressed out in full gear and put himself through a three-hour workout because he didn't want to get behind the teammates in a conditioning factor."
Expected to make a transition over to linebacker in defensive coordinator Joe Barry's 3-4 scheme, Bielema said there were several different occasions in which Spaight showed great anticipation, as he knew plays before the ball was even hiked.
"He'll recognize a set and realize what the quarterback is doing and he would run over and tell a player and say, 'Listen, here's the ball. It's coming right at you. Do this,'" he explained. "And it literally shows up time and time again on film where he knew the play before the ball was snapped, just because the film study and the dedication."