Tate Martell was once a very high-profile, big name recruit. Coming out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, Martell never lost a high school game. Tate originally committed to Washington as an eighth grader, then de-committed, committing to Texas A&M later in his high school career. Finally, Martell flipped his commitment to Ohio State quickly after the Buckeyes gave him an offer.
Once Martell landed in Columbus, he knew he had an uphill battle knowing JT Barrett was back for his final season and with Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow, now at LSU, also on the roster. Martell sat out and redshirted his freshman year, then served the previous season as the backup to Heisman Finalist Dwayne Haskins. After this season was over, it seemed that Martell was the clearcut starter next season under first year head coach Ryan Day; then Justin Fields came into the picture.
Fields was last year’s most coveted recruit according to ESPN, and with his transfer, he is statistically the best recruit in Ohio State history, dethroning Terrelle Pryor. After Jake Fromm announced his return for the next season, Fields decided to say goodbye to the Bulldogs and explored other options. Fields, at 6’3″, 225lbs runs an impressive 4.51 and has the arm strength to rival Haskins. Fields is the obvious frontrunner for the starting spot next season, even if Martell did stick with the Bucks; but that isn’t the case. Martell announced Tuesday night via Twitter and Instagram that he will be attending the University of Miami, following high school teammates Bubba Bolden and Brevin Jordan.
So, with Martell exiting the Midwest for the 305, where does that put The U and Ohio State in the coming years?
First year head coach Manny Diaz is looking to start his tenure off right, and Martell gives him just the athleticism to do so. Diaz has no experience as a head coach, but the Miami native has shown his enthusiasm of receiving an offer from his former employer. Bringing in one of the top three transfers this offseason surely has Miami fans excited about the Canes upcoming years, but it should be a different Miami team we’ve seen in the past. The past two seasons under Mark Richt, although successful, has shown a very strong defense paired with a stagnant offense.
Malik Rosier will be back for his senior season with the Hurricanes as Martell will have to sit out a year for eligibility purposes. Expect Diaz’s offense to change dramatically under Martell (for the better). Although Rosier can escape the pocket alright, he cannot scramble at the same level as Martell, but not too many can. The athleticism of Tate will make the Miami offense explosive and exciting to watch, much like the teams of the 80’s and 90’s.
As great as Tate Martell is, his departure may be a good thing for the boys in Columbus. Justin Fields is a flat out freak and will be a force to reckon with for years and years. His size and speed mixed with his ability to throw at a high level will be a mix of Dwayne Haskins and Tate Martell. We saw a very pass-heavy attack from Ohio State last season, making them predictable at times, although it didn’t matter because of the skill of Haskins. Fields, unlike Haskins, can effectively run the ball, so look for plenty of read option plays, much like the JT Barrett era, with the effective Fields-Dobbins one-two punch.
Although Tate does have the edge in experience over Fields, I believe Fields will turn out the more dominant quarterback, even though he will face tougher competition in the Big Ten. The only question mark for the Buckeyes is will Ryan Day switch to a more balanced attack than we saw last year, and if so, will Fields be able to comprehend the complexities that lie within the offense. If both of those questions are answered yes after the first few weeks of next season, expect the Buckeyes to be right back in playoff contention.
This offseason has been one of the most exciting in the past year. I believe I speak on behalf of the rest of the college football world in saying I cannot wait to see how all of the transfers mesh with their new programs.