Carlton Martial named SBC Male Athlete of the Year

Published 9:20 am Wednesday, October 25, 2023

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Former Troy University football star Carlton Martial was named the Sun Belt Conference’s Male Student-Athlete of the Year on Tuesday.

While Martial’s Troy playing days may be over, he wasn’t quite done receiving accolades. The Sun Belt named Martial its 2022-2023 Male Student-Athlete of the Year at its annual Sun Belt Honors Banquet in Atlanta, Ga., on Tuesday.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank God because without him, none of this would be possible,” Martial said. “I want to thank Commissioner Gill and the Sun Belt Conference Athletics Directors for presenting me with this honor. This award is not just for me, but for the City of Troy, my teammates, Coach (Jon) Sumrall and our entire coaching staff. Also, everyone who believed in me throughout my entire journey. I want to thank all of them for allowing me to do something special.”

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Martial was an All-State linebacker at McGill-Toolen in Mobile but was considered undersized for an FBS linebacker and didn’t receive any FBS scholarship offers. Ultimately, he decided to accept a Preferred Walk-On offer from Troy and after earning a starting position as a freshman he also earned a scholarship.

In his Troy career, Martial went from walk-on to scholarship player to starter to All-Sun Belt linebacker to All-American linebacker and eventually the all-time leading tackler in Troy, Sun Belt and NCAA FBS history.

“Carlton Martial will forever be remembered for not only his performance as a player but more importantly for his impact off the field and for the person he is,” Sumrall said. “Carlton is everything you want in a football player, from his work ethic, his leadership, his character and his passion for the game. He is the kind of person that you want your kids to look up to. We are incredibly proud of Carlton for all of his accomplishments and awards, as he is more than deserving of them.”

During his Troy career Martial tallied 577 tackles, 50.5 tackles-for-loss, 10.5 sacks, six interceptions, 15 pass breakups, eight fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles. His numerous accolades include being a four-time All-Sun Belt selection, a Freshman All-American, a four-time All-American selection, a two-time Burlsworth Trophy Finalist, the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year, the PFN Walk-on of the Year and The Messenger’s Male Trojan of the Year.