Cedar Point may be Ohio’s most well-known theme park and considered The Roller Coaster Capital of the World, but in recent years, The Tate Martell Experience is quickly climbing the roller coaster rankings. Even though he no longer calls Ohio home, the experience took another crazy turn on Monday as well.
Martell isn’t used to losing, or sitting on the sidelines, for that matter. During his illustrious high school career, the quarterback threw for 7,507 yards and 113 touchdowns. He also ran for 2,294 and 35 touchdowns while leading Bishop Gorman to a perfect 43-0 record. It’s the reason he was rated as the No. 2-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the 2017 class (No. 56 overall). Yet, it was just the start of an up-and-down, turbulent journey, one that has been filled with many more valleys than peaks.
In 2014, Martell committed to Washington. He then decommitted from the Huskies and proceeded to commit to Texas A&M in 2015. When he committed to the Aggies, he called their other quarterback “ass” in a direct message that was shared throughout the Twitterverse.
Justin Fields to OSU?? Can't wait for the Tate Martell "He's ass, my dude" Part 2 DM to surface… pic.twitter.com/iLp7kJNdsN
— Kayce Smith (@KayceSmith) January 4, 2019
Then in 2016, he decommitted from Texas A&M and committed to Ohio State. That crazy two years seemed to be the end of it now that he was a Buckeye, right? Wrong.
During his high schools days, he was always the man. He knew that and once he finally got to college, he was given quite the reality check. Even after the two decommitments, he was forced to still play behind better quarterbacks at Ohio State. After redshirting during his first year in Columbus due to it being J.T. Barrett’s team, Martell had to play behind Dwayne Haskins in 2018. We all know how that went. Martell played in six games, but he was never going to unseat one of the best quarterbacks in program history, especially given Haskins’ recording-breaking season.
With Haskins leaving early for the NFL, 2019 was supposed to be Martell’s year to lead the Buckeyes. When rumors began circulating that Georgia quarterback Justin Fields was going to transfer to Ohio State, people around Columbus and college football wondered if Martell would transfer. It was the same transfer rumors that have stuck around the quarterback his entire college career. Two days before the Rose Bowl that was held on New Year’s Day this past January, Martell quickly shut down those rumors.
“I have no doubt that I’ll go out there and win the job,” he said on Sunday at Rose Bowl media day. “There’s no reason I should [transfer]. 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.
“There’s no reason I shouldn’t (stay),” Martell said. “This dude (Fields) 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.”
Even prior to those comments, Martell tweeted this. While he didn’t say anyone’s name directly, it was clear that he was subtweeting about Fields. The tweet has since been deleted.
“It’s an NFL-type of offense, so it’s difficult to learn,” Martell said. “It takes people a while to get it down. Even Dwayne, I was talking to Dwayne about it, he was like, ‘Well, it took me over a year to feel like I was even comfortable on the field.’ Now, after two years of being in, I know what I’m doing. I’m on point with everything I do. I’m running the offense.”
Then, following Ohio State taking down Washington in the Rose Bowl, Martell once again didn’t hold back when it came to comments about Fields.
Tate Martell had more comments about Justin Fields after Ohio State's 28-23 Rose Bowl win against Washington. pic.twitter.com/HSuZs2rvFh
— Colin Gay (@ColinGay17) January 2, 2019
On January 4, just three days after the Rose Bowl, Fields made it official: He was transferring to Ohio State and after hoping to gain immediate eligibility (something that he eventually got), the former Georgia quarterback was gunning for the starting quarterback job, no matter who else was in his way, including Martell.
Then, after guaranteeing that he would be the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes in 2019 and not transfer, Martell entered the transfer portal on January 10. Six days later, he announced that he was transferring to The U, in hopes of becoming the next starting quarterback at Miami.
Also, in early February, CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reported that Martell had one foot out the door and considered an in-season transfer, citing Urban Meyer’s three-game suspension.
It is not believed Martell ultimately filed the appeal with the NCAA and may have been advised against it. Last season, Martell stayed for his redshirt freshman campaign as a backup for Heisman Trophy finalist Dwayne Haskins.
It’s not clear if Meyer’s suspension was the sole reason Martell considering an appeal. Meyer was suspended before the season for what the school called “insufficient management action” regarding former Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith.
Ohio State told CBS Sports it was not aware that Martell was considering an in-season transfer request and waiver appeal over Meyer’s suspension.
“We have great respect and appreciation for what Tate brought to our program and we wish him all the best as he begins this new chapter as a student-athlete,” the program said in a statement. “This isn’t something that we were aware of prior to your request for comment.”
After gaining immediate eligibility much like Fields, it cleared the way for Martell to potentially do so. Fast forward to this past Monday, and Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz announced that sophomore Jarren Williams had won the competition and will be Miami’s starting quarterback. Hours after the announcement, Martell was a no-show at Miami’s practice. The drama has obviously continued. While he attended the team meeting and was back at the team’s facility on Tuesday, that tells you all you need to know. While there may have been a reason he wasn’t at practice the same day he wasn’t named the starting quarterback, it seems as though Martell just wasn’t happy with the announcement.
To make matters even worse, Martell might not even be the second-string quarterback either.
Remember that subtweet made by Martell towards Fields, well, it appears as though Martell swung and miss…especially the second time. Karma was always come back to get you, you guys.
It’s clear that Martell wants to be the guy. While he dominated in high school, it’s also clear that he doesn’t seem to be as good at the college level as he thinks he is. I mean, he might even be the third-string quarterback in South Beach this upcoming season.
I’m not here to rag on a college athlete and I get Martell doing what’s best for him, but maybe he should hold off on the guarantees and the subtweets if he can’t live up to any of it. There’s a reason the majority of Buckeye Nation roots for Joe Burrow after he transferred from Ohio State to LSU and many seem to be hating on Martell. One left the right way and is now the starting quarterback for the Tigers; the other subtweeted on his way out while not living up to anything that he said.
Welcome to the Tate Martell Experience, the most up-and-down rollercoaster on this side of the Mississippi.