The confidence. The swagger. The athleticism. It’s just the type of football player and quarterback Tate Martell is. He was destined for Miami, Florida one way or another. That became even more apparent when the former Ohio State Buckeye announced that he is transferring to the Miami Hurricanes this past Tuesday night.
While it seemed inevitable, especially after Justin Fields transferred to Ohio State, Martell still wanted to be a Buckeye, at least at first. When rumors first began surfacing that Fields could potentially come to Columbus, Martell tweeted “Word of advice: Don’t swing and miss…especially not your second time”, in a tweet that has since been deleted. It was seemingly a shot at Ohio State.
“That meant what you think it meant,” he said when asked about the tweet.
He even threw some shade at Fields when all the rumors began circulating that the former Georgia quarterback could (and would) transfer to Ohio State.
“There’s no reason I shouldn’t (stay),” Martell said. “This dude hasn’t put a single second into Ohio State football. I don’t know why somebody would think that the grass is greener on the other side, but I guess he’s kind of looking at it like a fantasy way, I guess.
“I am just going to tell you — if anyone comes in, it’s going to take over a year to learn the offense to where you need to be to go on the field and perform at a high level,” he said. “Just from that aspect, if someone thinks they are going to come in, walk in and start, it’s probably not going to happen. The offense that coach (Ryan) Day has in place, it’s an NFL type of offense. It’s difficult to learn. It takes a while for people to get it down.”
After waiting two years, the former Buckeye expected to be the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes. It was (finally) his time. He even guaranteed it just two weeks ago.
“I’m 100 percent sure,” Martell stated when asked if he would be Ohio State’s starting quarterback in 2019.
“There’s no reason I should [leave]. I know what kind of quarterback I am. I’m an elite quarterback. I know that after two years of being here, I run our offense at a very efficient level, and I know once we put the zone read back in, it will be very fun for me,” Martell said.
He had a rough first two seasons in Columbus. Martell finally received some playing time while stepping in as a wildcat quarterback during his sophomore season this past fall, but that wasn’t enough. He wanted to be the starter. After sitting behind stars such as J.T. Barrett and Dwayne Haskins the last two years, Martell was running out of patience but knew the wait would be worth it in the end, until Fields decided to become a Buckeye. This whole time, it was his Ohio State teammates that kept him around, at least until now.
“You always have to think about how timing plays out and what could happen. There have been times where I’ve had to look at it and think, ‘How long am I going to actually sit around before I get my chance.’ But the reason I never left this school, after everything that I’ve done and everything I’ve put in, is because I love my teammates. I am going to be honest: That is what has kept me here. I love my boys,” Martell said.
“All of my guys in my class, I’d do anything for them. The whole team knows that. There are probably a ton of other schools I could be starting for right now. Just look at what Joe (Burrow) did. At one point, there was J.T. (Barrett), Joe, Dwayne and me in the same room; that’s just crazy to look at it. Joe leaves gets one summer with the team and there he is starting for a top SEC program. It shows what we have in our quarterback room.”
While he and Ohio State head coach Ryan Day had plenty of heart-to-hearts, it was clear that Martell just isn’t the type of quarterback for Day’s system on offense. Urban Meyer may have loved his run-first quarterbacks, Day is a pass-first, air-it-out guy. Add in the fact that the head coach brought in Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich to be his offensive coordinator and that became even more obvious considering the Cowboys love to pass the ball all over the field.
Martell just wasn’t a good fit for the new-look Ohio State offense. Fields is. It’s most likely the main reason Martell is no longer in Columbus and now in South Beach. I don’t blame him, but he shouldn’t have 100 percent guaranteed that he would be the Buckeyes starting quarterback in 2019 even after the Fields rumors began surfacing. He knew what he was in for and less than three weeks after making that guarantee, he is no longer a Buckeye. The guarantee looks bad, I’m sure Martell realizes that. Then again, he probably doesn’t care at this point.
Now, he’s just worried about playing for the Hurricanes, sooner rather than later. Due to NCAA rules, he will have to sit out the 2019 season. With that said, much like Fields is, Martell is also trying to play in 2019 rather than sit out as well. According to 247Sports’ Steve Wilfong, Martell has hired a lawyer and will use Urban Meyer’s sudden retirement and the coaching staff as grounds to support him transferring and possibly being deemed immediately eligible.
The kid is an exciting player. I hope he has plenty of success in South Beach, where he should have been all along, in all honesty. I will root for him, I just don’t like the fact that Martell ran his mouth a little and then didn’t back it up, transferring to a new school himself after bad-mouthing Fields before the former Georgia star officially transferred to Ohio State. With all that said, here’s to hoping Martell and the Buckeyes meet up in a bowl game, preferably in the Playoff. Now that would be one hell of a game with plenty of storylines.