Drake Martinez

B1G doesn’t hate the Drake, makes right call for MSU’s Martinez


The Big Ten seems to be digging in on transfer rules in college football, and on Tuesday perhaps showed some leniency in making a ruling on one player’s situation. Michigan State linebacker Drake Martinez received word from the Big Ten offices his appeal to be ruled eligible to play this fall has been approved.

The former Nebraska player, the younger brother of former Huskers quarterback Taylor Martinez, would have had to sit out a season under Big Ten transfer rules after starting his collegiate career in Lincoln. The younger Martinez signed to play at Michigan State on signing day this year and waited to hear whether or not he would be eligible to play right away or if he would have to miss a year in the transfer process.

After starting his collegiate career at Nebraska in 2013, Martinez transferred to Saddleback College in California for the 2014 season. Under normal NCAA transfer rules Martinez would be eligible to play without question in 2015. But the Big Ten has a rule stipulating a player must sit out a season when making a move to another Big Ten program, regardless of the timeline. Fortunately, somebody in the Big Ten offices has at least half a brain to realize Martinez has already been out of FBS and Big ten action for a year, so the appeal should have been an easy call to make.

Taylor Martinez’s younger brother leaving Nebraska

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If there is a quota to fill on players named Martinez at Nebraska, the Huskers could be in some trouble. After already losing quarterback Taylor Martinez to graduation, the Cornhuskers will also lose his brother, safety Drake Martinez. The younger of the Martinez brothers intends to transfer from Nebraska.

Husker Illustrated reports Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini has confirmed the transfer for Martinez, a freshman safety most likely to be a backup in the fall in Nebraska’s secondary. His father confirmed the news with ESPN.com as well. Martinez has been battling some health issues that held him out of the spring and has caused him to lose some size as well.

So where will Martinez go from here? A clean slate and a chance to compete for a more significant role on a team is likely what Martinez will be looking for. San Diego State seems like a logical option, according to Husker Corner, given Martinez being a California native and once holding an offer from the Aztecs. As noted by Husker Illustrated, Nebraska will welcome incoming freshman Kieran Williams to fill a void on the depth chart, if nothing else.

Martinez will have to sit out the 2014 season if he transfers to another FBS program according to NCAA rules. If he transfers to an FCS program (or lower), he will be eligible to play right away this fall.