Rick Rowell / ABC
Monday, May 19, 2014 | 5:45 p.m.
Most UNLV football fans don’t remember Marquel Martin, a reserve defensive back from the Mike Sanford coaching era.
After tonight, the 26-year-old Martin could be a household name for a different audience.
He’s one of 25 men competing for Andi Dorfman’s affection on "The Bachelorette" reality TV show debuting at 9:30 p.m. on ABC. He's one of three men featured on the ABC website this afternoon promoting the show.
Martin works in sponsorship sales at the UFC in Las Vegas, where I reached him today hoping to chat about being on the popular dating program.
Turns out, ABC doesn’t allow interviews: “None of the men, their friends or families are available to be interviewed until after they are eliminated. If and when that happens, please reach out,” a spokesperson for ABC wrote to me in an email.
Here’s what I know about Martin, who is one of the show’s few minority contestants:
• He appears to be a great guy. He was super friendly on the phone, and the two people I called to get his number had nothing but positives to say.
• He’s bright. He’s got a master’s degree from UNLV and finished his bachelor’s degree before his football eligibility expired in 2009. In 2006 and 2007, he was an All-Mountain West academic selection. On his ABC bio, he calls earning his master’s degree his greatest achievement.
• He was a former walk-on at UNLV, working his way into being a key contributor during his senior season. Listed at 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, he had 34 tackles as a senior in 2009 to help UNLV finish with a 5-7 record. He was slowed by an ACL surgery, only recording six tackles in 18 games during his initial three seasons.
• If he could have one super power, Martin told ABC: “The power to have incredible strength. I’d be an athlete and dominate.” Sanford wished he had that super power, too.
Martin and the others are competing to become Dorfman’s husband — the show structure has her eliminate a suitor or two each week. They’ll go on elaborate dates across the globe, all of which are paid for and documented by television cameras.
Reality TV show spoilers have Martin lasting five episodes, being sent back to his UFC job after a round of dates in France.
Maybe then we’ll catch up with this former Rebel.