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WVU DL Sean Martin Explains Significance of Switching to No. 5 for Senior Season

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WVU Football DL Sean Martin with Jared Bartlett and Lance Dixon
Image credit to WVU Athletics

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In sports, certain numbers are synonymous with particular athletes. 23 is Michael Jordan. Even though LeBron James also wore 23 during his Cleveland tenures, 23 will forever be associated with Jordan. When hockey fans think of 99, they think of Wayne Gretzky. Yankee fans, or really baseball fans, know the No. 2 is for Derek Jeter. You get the idea. And for WVU fans, the No. 5 will always belong to Pat White.

While White will forever be No. 5 in the hearts of Mountaineer Nation, they will watch a current West Virginia player wear that number this season. Defensive lineman Sean Martin discussed what prompted his number change after wearing 91 throughout his career to this point while speaking to the media after practice on Tuesday.

When asked why the switch for his final college season, Martin explained he’s going to wear five as a tribute to his late friend.

WVU Football DL Sean Martin

Ed Thompson / WVSN

“In 2019, I lost one of my closest friends, Tony Webster,” said Martin. “He had a brain aneurysm. So, I’m doing it for my coaches, my coach, his family, the town of Bluefield and Tony. Just to represent his family.”

For context, Anthony A. “Tony” Webster III, also known as “Lil Tony,” died a few days after collapsing during a workout at Bluefield High School in January 2019. He was a former high school teammate of Martin’s and a member of Bluefield’s 2017 Class AA state championship team.

Martin always wanted to wear five in honor of his friend, but he didn’t want to have to ask for it from another player. With Lance Dixon’s departure, five became an open number for defensive players. Martin then knew the timing was right to finally wear the number that means so much to him.

“I asked coach Brown if I could wear it my last season, and then he said yes,” Martin said about the easy conversation it took to get the number.

So even though it’s unlikely Martin, or any player for that matter, can ever do anything to make WVU fans associate the No. 5 with anyone other than White, a Mountaineer wearing that number and making plays at Milan Puskar Stadium this fall will be special in its own right.

In other No. 5 news to look out for, new wide receiver transfer addition Jaden Bray will wear five on offense.

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