All Jah-Maine Martin wanted was a second chance.
Only a few days before Christmas, it looks as if the former Conway standout got his wish.
Martin said Thursday he plans to enroll at North Carolina A&T.
“I can’t thank God enough for this opportunity,” he said. “About six months ago I was arrested and kicked out of school.
“I stayed down and never lost faith. Had to sit out a semester, but another door opened.”
According to Martin, N.C. A&T was among the schools who recruited him hard during his time at Conway.
“They hit me up and told me they were still interested,” he said. “They sent me the paperwork and basically said if it cleared then they wanted me. The rest is history.”
Martin said he plans to enroll at N.C. A&T in January.
Previously, Martin attended Coastal Carolina where he rushed for 175 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns during his freshman year. It continued a trend he started at Conway High, where he ran for more than 1,000 yards in his final two seasons.
He would not see the field in 2017, however, after being arrested July 10 and charged with unlawful carrying and possession of a stolen pistol.
Me leaving has more to do with me thinking about myself. I messed up one time — and it’s not about whose fault it was — it was my responsibility. It’s not too far from home, but far enough.
Former Conway football standout Jah-Maine Martin on why he is choosing to enroll at North Carolina A&T
Those charges were dismissed Aug. 25. Unfortunately for Martin, he was expelled from Coastal Carolina after losing an appeal to be reinstated.
As a result, he spent the last semester taking courses at Horry-Georgetown Technical College.
“The entire experience humbled me,” Martin said. “I felt before the situation that I was untouchable, that nothing could bring me down. This really showed me the reality of life, and there are choices to all our decisions.”
What awaits Martin at N.C. A&T is a program coming off its second Celebration Bowl victory in three years. The Aggies also recently completed their first 12-0 season in school history.
“They’ve built a culture,” the former Conway standout said. “I’ve been up there a few times and just loved the atmosphere. Then I watched the Celebration Bowl, and definitely wanted to be a part of that.
“Hopefully, I can help them make a few more trips (to the Celebration Bowl).”
Conway will always be home for Martin, a place where he became a household name on and off the gridiron. Yet when it comes to investing in his future, he believes the best thing to do — at least for a little while — is keep his hometown at arm’s length.
“For me, it was important to find the right environment, one I could be happy with and fit in,” he said. “Also (in Conway) I have so much love for my peers, and if they call me … I’m coming. It’s not about me wanting to do stupid things, I just love my boys. If they call me and need me, I’m there.
“But me leaving has more to do with me thinking about myself. I messed up one time — and it’s not about whose fault it was — it was my responsibility. It’s not too far from home, but far enough.”