Tate Martell

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Tate Martell bounces back in final Miami spring scrimmage

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The internet was blazing with reactions to a poor showing by new Miami quarterback Tate Martell during a recent spring scrimmage, and it seemed as though we could be in for a sub-par follow-up as the Hurricanes closed out their spring with a scrimmage in Orlando. Martell was not one of the top two quarterbacks to start the spring game. N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams were the first passers to get some work in.

As the afternoon continued, however, Martell seemed to provide some highlights with his new teammates at Miami, suggesting there still could be a positive outlook moving forward for the Ohio State transfer. Martell ended the spring on a positive note by throwing for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

So maybe Martell just had a rough day in the previous scrimmage that was scrutinized heavily and maybe he showed to new Miami head coach Manny Diaz the ability to shrug that off his shoulder pads to come back strong the next time out. There could be some positive to be drawn from this performance, but whether that means Martell will elevate himself above Perry for the starting job is a bit of a reach right now.

With the spring in the books, Diaz and his staff will now be able to spend some time digging into everything that observed in the spring practices and scrimmages and determines what needs to be done in the summer leading up to the start of the new season. Martell is eligible to play for the Hurricanes this season after receiving approval from the NCAA for his waiver request after leaving Ohio State. Unlike some transfer quarterbacks, Martell didn’t walk into a spot where he is going to be given the starting job right away. If the spring is any indication, he needs to prove he is worthy of the starting job in Miami.

Report: 51 of 64 waivers for immediate eligibility have been approved for transferring players

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Last week saw Ohio State receive some well-received news in Columbus when quarterback transfer Justin Fields was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA. Of course, Fields is hardly alone this year in receiving immediate eligibility from the NCAA, and there could still be more on the way. According to a report from 247 Sports, a total of 51 out of 64 players appealing for immediate eligibility form the NCAA have won their appeal.

The data for those figures may be adjusted quickly as more players hope to receive immediate eligibility from the NCAA after switching schools; the rules have been relaxed to be more player-friendly. Among those names include Miami quarterback Tate Martell and Texas wide receiver Bru McCoy. Martell transferred to Miami from Ohio State after Fields made his way from Georgia to Ohio State. His appeal for eligibility this fall would seemingly be more groundbreaking than the Fields situation considering the backstory for Fields leaving Georgia and Martell simply looking for a better chance to be the starter on the field. If Martell is given a chance to play this fall, it would be evidence that the system has definitely changed the game in college football. It would open the doors to as close to free agency as possible, a growing concern for many as more and more players seem to be transferring earlier and earlier in their college careers.

Take McCoy for another example. McCoy has yet to play a single down of college football but has already transferred from USC to Texas just in the last couple of months after committing to the Trojans in the most recent recruiting cycle. After USC lost offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury to a head coaching job in the NFL, McCoy decided he would look for another place to play football shortly after signing with USC in the early signing period. McCoy signed with Texas but technically falls under the category of a transferring player. It is expected by many McCoy will eventually be ruled eligible for the 2019 season given the circumstances.

The typical transfer rule still is in play with players having to sit out a season before being ruled eligible to play again, with the exception of graduate transfers getting immediate eligibility. Hardship waivers have long existed to allow for possible immediate eligibility for players, but the approval of waivers and appeals is beginning to be more frequent. That’s a good thing for players, and a growing headache for coaches.

With this trend continuing to grow, it won’t be long before the NCAA takes a look at what is going on to determine if any refinements to the rules need to be implemented.

QB Justin Fields granted immediate eligibility at Ohio State

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Ohio State has its quarterback for the 2019 season. It will be Justin Fields.

Fields, who transferred from Georgia to Ohio State last month has been granted immediate eligibility from the NCAA, allowing him to bypass the typical one-year waiting period before being eligible to play again following a transfer.

“I am happy for Justin and his family,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said in a released statement. “I also want to express my appreciation to the NCAA for its assistance in getting this matter resolved efficiently and with such a positive outcome for Justin.”

According to previous reports, the basis for the waiver filed by Fields was a racist slur hurled at him at Georgia by a baseball player (who has since been dismissed at Georgia) along with adjusted transfer rules focusing on transfers due to “mitigating circumstances” out of a player’s control.

This is a major victory for Day and Ohio State, as Fields will likely step right into the starting job after the departure to the NFL by Dwayne Haskins. Fields was previously a top recruit of the Georgia Bulldogs, and he brings tremendous potential as a quarterback. He will also have three years of eligibility as he gets started at Ohio State, which will go to use right away this fall. If Fields was not granted eligibility right away, the Buckeyes could have had a much more questionable quarterback situation this fall. That will no longer be the case.

What remains to be seen now is whether or not the NCAA will grant a former Ohio State quarterback a similar outcome. Tate Martell, who transferred to Miami shortly after Fields made his transfer to Columbus official, also applied for a waiver to be granted immediate eligibility with the Hurricanes. A decision for Martell is still pending.

Justin Fields announces transfer to Ohio State, then takes in basketball game with Dwayne Haskins and Urban Meyer

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Justin Fields appears to be settling in fairly quickly in his new surroundings in Columbus, Ohio. Fields took to Twitter Friday night to confirm his decision to leave Georgia for Ohio State, and on Saturday he took in a men’s basketball game with Dwayne Haskins and Urban Meyer.

Meyer, who coached his final game for the Buckeyes earlier this week with a victory in the Rose Bowl just hours before Fields’ former team lost in the Sugar Bowl, was being honored at the Ohio State men’s basketball game against Michigan State. And although Meyer will no longer be the head coach of Ohio State (Ryan Day is now officially the head coach of the program) Meyer still has some influence in Columbus as he takes on a new role with the university and athletics department. That role is still being ironed out, but it stands to reason Meyer can have some pull with the football recruiting process when needed.

Fields shared a statement on Twitter Friday night confirming what had been reported rather thoroughly throughout the week when he explained he had decided to transfer to Ohio State. He thanked Georgia head coach Kirby Smart for the opportunity to come to Georgia and be a part of the program. However, the quick departure of one of the top recruits from the state of Georgia in the entire Class of 2018 after just one year, and to lose that player to a Big Ten program, should raise some questions about Smart on the recruiting trail moving forward.

It still remains to be seen when Fields will be eligible to play for Ohio State. The normal transfer policy means Fields should not be eligible for the Buckeyes until 2020, although he seems to think he has a chance to be ruled eligible immediately. We’ll see. In the meantime, Tate Martell is expected to be the next quarterback in line if Dwayne Haskins chooses to leave Ohio State for the NFL. That decision, however, has not been made just yet, which means the quarterback situation in Columbus is pretty interesting right now.

No. 10 Ohio State keeps Big Ten and playoff hopes alive with slugfest win at Michigan State

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It wasn’t pretty, but it didn’t have to be. No. 10 Ohio State (9-1, 6-1) leaving No. 18 Michigan State (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) with a 26-6 win means the Buckeyes are still in position to make their own case not just for the Big Ten championship, but also for a spot in the College Football Playoff field. For either of those goals to be obtained, however, Ohio State still ha some work to do moving into the final few weeks.

Ohio State’s defense certainly looked improved in the road win in East Lansing. After being dominated by Purdue two games ago and then after a shaky performance after a bye week against Nebraska last week, Ohio State’s defense played much better on Saturday. Of course, the Spartans offense has been a bit damaged and may have served as the perfect recipe for an ailing Ohio State defense. The Spartans had just two third-down conversion in 15 tries and the running game never found a way to get going.

Things were so difficult for Michigan State, Mark Dantonio called for a signature trick play that seemingly worked for a go-ahead touchdown only to see a penalty bring the score off the board. The Spartans also took an intentional safety in a 7-6 game and the punter backed up at the back of the endzone. In a defensive battle like the one unfolding, that appeared to be a decent gamble in an attempt to flip the field. Ohio State punted after four plays, but the Spartans were still pinned deep in their end, and the Buckeyes recovered a fumble in the end zone on the first play run by the Michigan State offense. Suddenly, a one-point game had turned into a 16-6 lead for Ohio State.

Ohio State added a field goal to extend the lead to 19-6 after Michigan State fumbled on the first play of their next possession (for two fumbles in as many snaps by the Spartans, who had switched from quarterback Brian Lewerke to Rocky Lombardi). The teams then exchanged turnovers with Ohio State fumbling on the Michigan State four-yard line and Lewerke (who had returned to the game) being picked off by Shaun Wade.

Dwayne Haskins passed for 227 yards with a touchdown, and Urban Meyer found spots to get Tate Martell in the game as well. Although Michigan State’s Big Ten-leading rushing defense had contained Ohio State for much of the game, Mike Weber accounted for 104 yards and a touchdown in the game.

With the win, Ohio State continues to keep relative pace with Big Ten East-leading Michigan. The Buckeyes trail Michigan by one game in the loss column but will have a chance to win a head-to-head tiebreaker in the final game of the regular season as long as Ohio State does not lose next week. Ohio State will play at Maryland next week before returning home to host the Wolverines in two weeks, when a spot in the Big Ten championship game is expected to be on the line. And, of course, the game could carry some College Football Playoff implications.

Michigan State remains in third place in the Big Ten East, tied with Penn State but with a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Nittany Lions. A shot at the Big Ten East is now out of reach for Michigan State with head-to-head losses to Ohio State and Michigan. The Spartans now head to Lincoln, Nebraska next week to play a recently charged up Nebraska team. It could be a dangerous spot to be in for Michigan State.