Their teammate, linebacker Daniel Green, only got a glimpse of the pair together during spring workouts, but he has a warning for the rest of the Big 12 Conference.
“(Martinez) and Deuce back there together?” Green said. “It’s like, ‘Sheesh. Good luck to these defenses.’”
Big 12 defenses already know plenty about Vaughn, who was an All-American last season, along with earning All-Big 12 honors. He led Kansas State with 1,404 yards rushing with 18 touchdowns and caught another 49 passes with 468 yards and four touchdowns. His reception total led the team, too.
Martinez is coming off four seasons at Nebraska, where he was the starter for most of his tenure in Lincoln. Martinez threw for 8,491 yards, and rushed for another 2,301 yards and 35 touchdowns. He’s expected to replace Skylar Thompson, who was K-State’s long-time starter and led the program to a Texas bowl win over LSU, the culmination of an 8-5 record in 2021.
Some believe that Martinez could actually be a better fit for the K-State offense, given his running skills and the tempo that new offensive coordinator — and former K-State quarterbacking legend — Collin Klein is expected to add to the offense.
Martinez missed most of fall workouts rehabbing an injury. But he was able to participate in the final two workouts, and Green got an eyeful.
“I’m excited to see them play,” Green said. “You know, we go against them (in practice), but we’re really just excited to go out there and see them play in a game and see what they’ve got.”
The Wildcats are a trendy pick to be a potential spoiler in the Big 12 because they return 10 starters, chief among them Vaughn.
The junior back, along with Kansas State pass rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah, give the Wildcats a pair of potential First-Team All-America candidates for 2022.
The Wildcats open the season on Sept. 3 at home against South Dakota, followed by home games with Missouri on Sept. 10 and Tulane on Sept. 17. Kansas State opens Big 12 play at Oklahoma on Sept. 24.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.