Tate Martell lost the battle for Miami’s starting quarterback position this summer, as sophomore Jarren Williams will take the first snaps of the season against Florida Saturday night in Orlando.
Martell transferred from Ohio State this offseason and earned immediate eligbility for the 2019 season. Sites such as Sports Illustrated pegged him as the favorite to win the job, but Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz is going with Williams due to his “upside.”
It’s not clear yet if Martell is even the backup to Williams, as Diaz still has him competing with redshirt sophomore N’Kosi Perry. The head coach has even gone as far to say that Martell could switch positions to help at wide receiver.
“It’s like anybody else we have,” Diaz said per The Spun. “Anybody will help by doing anything that’s available, so yeah.”
As CBS Sports’ Barrett Sallee points out, the receiver room is already full of talent, including Junior Jeff Thomas, Buffalo transfer K.J. Osborn and junior Mike Harley. “All are expected to be key contributors outside, and all three are speedsters who are dangerous in space,” Sallee writes.
That might be too much to swallow for the former No. 2 dual threat quarterback in the 2017 class (per 247 Sports). Miami long snapper Mason Napper even shared on Snapchat an image of Martell’s nameplate found on the floor of the locker room, suggesting he’ll be out the door soon.
While nothing is official right now, where could Martell take his 269 passing yards and 128 rushing yards next season should he transfer? Let’s look at some potential options and good fits.
Nevada Wolf Pack
Nevada is the best combination of close to home and future opportunity under center. Martell is originally from Las Vegas, and Reno is a manageable drive and a cheap plane ticket (on Allegiant Air) away.
The future at quarterback for the Wolfpack is unclear. Senior Cristian Solano graduates after this season, while redshirt freshman Carson Strong edged out “Last Chance U” star Malik Henry for the backup spot.
Martell likely wouldn’t get a second waiver from the NCAA, so he would become eligible for the 2021 season. The extra experience would set him up nicely for a productive final season in the college game under head coach Jay Norvell’s up-tempo, shotgun offense.
This is the most popular choice, as Martell has connections with the program. He starred in high school for Bishop Gorman, which Rebels head coach Tony Sanchez built into a national power with an 85-5 record over six seasons.
During his time at Gorman, Martell played for Sanchez’s younger brother, Kenny. However, Sanchez is on the hot seat entering his fifth season. With just a 16-32 record and 11-21 mark in the Mountain West, he might not be in the building anymore by the time Martell is eligible.
On the other hand, the quarterback room should clear up by 2021, as juniors Armani Rogers and Max Gillam should both be out the door by then. Should Sanchez stick around for a sixth year, this is a pretty clear pick.
This pick is soley based on West Virginia’s reputation as an oasis for wayward quarterbacks. Will Grier resurrected his career after his disciplinary issues at Florida, and now plays for the Carolina Panthers.
This year’s starter is Oklahoma grad transfer Austin Kendall. In addition, new head coach Neal Brown doesn’t need a tall quarterback to succeed. His spread looks during his times Texas Tech and Troy allowed for shorter throwers to see through passing lanes better.
Martell has proven himself to be accurate, completing 23-of-28 passes last season for the Buckeyes. By 2021, he could be the next reclamation project in Morgantown.