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The Heavies: Don’t let the size fool you with talented West Orange center Nico Marti

Editor’s note: The Orlando area is full of talented offensive linemen who are college football prospects. There has probably never been a time like this in the history of Orlando high schools. So we are recognizing this surge in talented big guys in the Class of 2025 with a six-part series, “The Heavies.”

Thursday: Parker Moss, Olympia

Friday: Alex Oats and Aleks Freyman, Bishop Moore

Today: Nico Marti, West Orange

Nico Marti is not big. By offensive line standards he’s actually small at 6-foot-1, 295 pounds.

But there is just something about the little West Orange center, who is the No. 44-ranked player in the Sentinel’s 2025 Central Florida Super60.

He’s tough and strong and he does not back down to bigger defenders. He takes advantage of his lower center of gravity, uses his tremendous leg, upper body and arm strength, and he stands up would-be rushers time after time.

So what is it that makes Marti the talented lineman that he is?

He’s not shy about his intentions on Friday night.

“I just like inflicting pain on people,” Marti said.

“This year I got switched to center and I like directing everybody where to go and having that responsibility of having the lead role on the O-line,” Marti said. “I like moving people out of the way so my guys can get through and get the yards.”

He’s fast on his feet and has honed his technique to his advantage and, as a former guard, he gives West Orange added versatility.

“My best attributes are how quick I am off the ball and how I can pull from the center position,” he said. “I have good pass pro technique and good hands and just good overall power in the run game as well.”

His size has not hurt him at the line of scrimmage, but the recruiting game has been difficult for Marti.

“My coaches have been reaching out for me and they said that everyone’s main concern is my size and how I don’t pass the eye test,” Marti said. “It’s a little frustrating because I know I got all of this potential and everything and I’m working hard, but I don’t fit the criteria for the height.

“I can only work on the things I can control.”

Marti’s aggressiveness comes from being a former defensive lineman. Now he’s quite happy as a blocking lineman.

“I just fell in love with the position and I love the brotherhood of the O-line,” he said. “I got close with my guys real quick and I just love it overall.”

He is an integral part of the offense at center. He will be teamed up with his O-line buddies, Josiah Butler, Mason Gifford, Alexander Castellanos and Jordan Barry Lopez. The Warriors O-line is coached by Brian Furrey.

“You got to be the most vocal on the O-line and the most familiar with the plays because you have to tell your guys what to do and you got to know all the checks and what the quarterback likes with the snaps and everything,” Marti said. “It’s a pretty important role on the field.”

He changed positions after an injury and the need for bodies on the offensive side for West Orange.

“It’s going pretty good. I’m picking it up pretty well. Snaps are getting better,” Marti said. “I’m working on that every day and I’m making sure I don’t have to worry about that during the game.”

The switch to center also will help Marti in his recruitment. He can easily play guard, but with the added knowledge and leadership qualities from center is valued by recruiters.

“I look at the schools that I would like and the centers are usually like the shorter position, so I feel like that will be good for me,” Marti said. “I’m feeling pretty good. I’m feeling confident in myself and I feel like I’m going to have a good year and I’m going to impress some coaches out there.”

CHris Hays can be found on X @OS_ChrisHays. He can be reached via email at chays@orlandosentinel.com.