Tate Martell caught a lot of heat when he decided to leave Columbus. The Ohio State quarterback wasn’t afraid of Justin Fields’ decision to join the Buckeyes and was ready to challenge the former five-star gunslinger for the starting job in 2019.
Once Fields arrived in Columbus, though, Martell entered his name in the transfer portal. From an outsider’s perspective, it may have seemed that the Las Vegas native was running from the competition.
After Martell spoke with ESPN’s Andrea Adelson in a recent interview, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Instead, it sounds like Martell was advised to transfer out of the program after Ohio State locked up a commitment from Fields, who decided to leave Georgia following the 2018 season.
But when he arrived in Columbus, Ohio, Martell had J.T. Barrett and Dwayne Haskins in line ahead of him. Martell waited his turn, believing 2019 would be his year. Then Urban Meyer stepped down. Martell says he was told toward the end of the season he would be better off finding another school. Shortly after former No. 1 overall recruit Justin Fields announced he was transferring to Ohio State, Martell told the world he would transfer himself.
“Ohio State, that was my dream school,” Martell said during an interview this spring. “I was sick to my stomach. There was almost a point where I was like, ‘I’m going to roll the dice anyway’ because I wanted to be there.
“After being there for two years and not playing, I couldn’t risk it anymore. There’s a point where you love your teammates, you love everything about the school and the people there, but you have to start thinking about yourself and not doing it because these are my teammates. They all understood, and they weren’t upset at all.
“The good thing that happened was that I was told, so I wasn’t in a bad situation. So that’s the only thing I can say that was good about the situation is I wasn’t lied to.”
Martell appeared to fit the mold at Ohio State. He was a quarterback with dual-threat capabilities and stuck with the program, despite having to wait a few years before getting his shot to win the starting job.
When Fields became available, everything changed. Head coach Ryan Day had to take the chance on landing the former five-star prospect, even if it meant jeopardizing Martell’s career with the Buckeyes.
It won’t be at Ohio State, but Martell will get his chance in Miami. He was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA and will be able to step on the field in 2019.
The Hurricanes open the season on Aug. 24 against Florida at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.