Justin Fields intends to transfer from Georgia, and it was immediately reported Ohio State is the most likely destination for his services. Turns out, the train is already far enough down the tracks that Dwayne Haskins told The Athletic that Fields has reached out to inquire about what it’s like to be a Buckeye.
This would obviously be a good thing for Ohio State. Fields was the No. 2 player in the Class of 2018, and is petitioning to be granted immediate eligibility in 2019. Every single program in the country would rather have Fields than not.
But that doesn’t mean it would be an easy thing for Ohio State. With Haskins expected to declare for the NFL draft after Tuesday’s Rose Bowl, Fields would still be leaving one quarterback room crowded with highly-recruited players for another — and one of those players is not ready to hand the baton to Fields without a fight. In an interview with The Athletic, Ohio State backup quarterback Tate Martell said this:
“Why would I leave for someone who hasn’t put a single second into this program?” Martell asked. “I have put two years of literally working my ass into something that I’ve been waiting for and a dream I’ve had my whole life. To just run away from somebody who hasn’t put in a single second in at winter workouts and doesn’t know what the program is all about? There’s not a chance.”
A 4-star recruit out of Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High School, Martell redshirted in 2017 and has carved out a role as Haskins’ backup this fall. Playing in a specially-designed short yardage and goal line package in addition to mop up duty, Martell has completed 23-of-28 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown while rushing 22 times for 128 yards and two scores.
But it’s more than just that. Martell thinks his incumbency advantage is real due to the complicated nature of Ryan Day‘s offense. “I was talking to Dwayne and he’s like, ‘Well, it took me over a year before I even felt comfortable on the field,’ and I felt the same way,” Martell told the site. “Now, almost two years into it, I know what I am doing and I’m on point with everything I do. I’m ready to start.”
To beat out Martell, Fields would have to master an offense in eight months what Martell would have lived in for three years by the time of Ohio State’s 2019 opener. Martell thinks he would win that fight.