Just when you thought he was out, Miami pulls Tate Martell right back into the quarterback mix.
When last we left the Martell soap opera late last month, the redshirt sophomore had taken a personal leave of absence. Martell subsequently returned from his second such leave this season. Thursday, the Miami Herald reported, Martell is now getting what it described as “a fresh look in the starting battle” as The U prepares for its bowl game.
“Those discussions are there,” offensive coordinator Dan Enos said of Martell being in the mix with Jarren Williams and N’Kosi Perry to open the Independence Bowl under center vs. Louisiana Tech. It appears, though, that Martell has a ways to go to catch up.
“He has to do it on the field and it’s been very inconsistent,” Enos said of Martell. “He hasn’t done anything to have earned a chance to do that yet. He’s been really good [in four practices]. And he’s done a nice job. I don’t know where it will end up. He’s in the right frame of mind, and we would like to see the best version of him.”
This twist is the latest in the saga of one of the highest-rated quarterbacks — and most polarizing prospects — in the Class of 2017.
Instead of bringing it on and competing with Georgia transfer Justin Fields for the starting quarterback job, Martell hightailed it out of Ohio State this past offseason and ultimately landed at Miami shortly thereafter. Granted immediate eligibility with the Hurricanes, and seen as a slight favorite to win the starting job, Martell instead saw Williams stake his claim as QB1 as head coach Manny Diaz named the redshirt freshman the Hurricanes’ starter to start the season.
Losing out on the starting job led to Martell bailing on practice for the initial personal leave, even as he ultimately returned. Not long after, it was reported that Martell had begun working with Miami’s wide receivers; last month, Martell shifted his on-field focus back to the quarterback position.
Martell was a four-star member of OSU’s 2017 recruiting class, rated as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the country. After redshirting as a true freshman, Martell threw for 269 yards and a touchdown on 23-of-28 passing last season for the Buckeyes while also running for another 128 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
At Miami, Martell has yet to attempt a pass or record a reception, but does have two yards on a pair of carries. Since getting in on a couple of plays at receiver in the Week 6 loss to Virginia Tech, Martell hasn’t seen the field.
Williams has started nine games this season, the first five and the last four. Perry started the three in between. Those two have directed an offense that is 42nd in pass yards (257.2 ypg) and 73rd in scoring (27.8 ppg). Thoe numbers are sixth and 10th, respectively, in the ACC.Follow @cftalk