Former Lee student training full time, hoping for NFL draft - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Former Lee student training full time, hoping for NFL draft


A former Lee Red Raider and a cornerback from Oklahoma State is back in Tyler, training full time.

Five years after college, Martel Van Zant still has dreams of being in the NFL.

Van Zant was born without ear drums, but he doesn't allow his impairment to come between him and his dream.

Van Zant spends his time playing football, training for football, and watching football.

"I have always liked football, soccer, basketball, and track as a sport. I just like to be in the action," says Van Zant.

Van Zant was born with no eardrums, but that hasn't stopped him from playing the sport.

"I use mostly eye reaction to be quick. I use mostly sense when playing football, then just hearing a whistle. I watch the ball and follow the movement," says Van Zant.

Van Zant played four years at OSU and two years of indoor football, but he still has hopes for the NFL.

"In the future, I want to become a deaf coach,strength coach and personal trainer. I want to help athletes gain speed,quickness and condition. But I still want to be a NFL player," says Van Zant.

Pilate's is one of the ways Van Zant stays in top shape.

It mostly helps with my core. It has also healed me, and makes me feel less pain. It helps a lot," says Van Zant.

Trainer Michelle Heines says his loss of hearing makes his other senses stronger.

"Due to his hearing impairment it makes him almost more supersonic on the exercises because he has a sense of control that a lot of athletes don't have immediately," says Heines.

Van Zant now is just hoping to get the call to be in the NFL.

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