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.
File this under things I never want to see happen while flying:
From the Chicago Tribune:
United Flight 1463 took off from O’Hare around 8:35 p.m. Sunday, headed to John Wayne Airport south of Los Angeles with 96 passengers and five crew members, the airline said.
The Boeing 737 was flying at 38,000 feet when the chute opened, officials said. It made a safe emergency landing at MidContinent Airport in Wichita around 10:30 p.m.
In retrospect, the photo looks kind of silly, but I can’t imagine watching an emergency chute inflate within a plane cruising at 38,000 feet is all to fun an experience.
Glad the passengers — T-Magic included — are safe.
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.
Nebraska may not have the same sort of quarterback competition other programs have this spring. With Tommy Armstrong in the fold, the Huskers look to have their starter already figured out at the start of the spring practice season. this is not stopping the Huskers from trying out some different things though, including wide receiver Jamal Turner getting back to his quarterback roots.
”This spring is the time for us to experiment and maybe take it to a different level,” Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said. ”He likes it. He thinks he’s Russell Wilson. Jamal isn’t lacking for confidence.”
Turner was recruited to Nebraska as a dual-threat quarterback but with Taylor Martinez in Lincoln the Huskers had their dual-threat option pretty much in place. Now with Martinez gone, Turner is getting some reps as quarterback this spring to give the Nebraska coaching staff some things to think about heading in to the 2014 season. Armstrong will likely remain the top quarterback, but if Turner can pull off some plays and prove to be confident under center then Nebraska may have some tricks up their sleeves in the fall. That is the plan.
”It just gives us some other options, some wildcat things,” Pelini said. ”He has quarterback in his background, so it’s not new to him. We’re going to give him significant reps at quarterback this spring and see where it is.”
When the fall comes around, Turner is probably more likely to stick to his receiver duties. He had 13 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown last season, and he could have a chance to have more of an impact this season
Looking to clear the air as his son prepares for workouts in front of NFL Scouts and coaches, Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez‘s father attempted to set the record straight about his son’s injury status from the 2013 season. Martinez suffered a plantar plate tear of the second metatarsal phalangeal joint, which in English translates to a torn ligament in his foot. According to Casey Martinez,s Taylor’s father, the injury was suffered in Nebraska’s first game of the season against Wyoming and aggravated the following week in a game against Southern Mississippi. Nebraska, according to Casey Martinez, never fully diagnosed the foot injury, but he is not accusing the school of negligence either.
“I think Taylor wanted to get back and play as badly as anyone,” Casey Martinez said in a report by ESPN.com. “They wanted him to play and expected to contend for a Big Ten championship.”
Martinez sat out six weeks of the regular season to focus on his foot injury and when he was set to return to the field his father agreed with the decision of the Nebraska coaching staff. He returned against Minnesota but struggled to play the way he was capable of doing when healthy. It was the final game of Martinez’s career. At the end of the season Martinez and his family took time to get a professional opinion form another source before setting any sights on the NFL. That led Martinez to Dr. Mark Quist of Carolina Foot and Ankle, who diagnosed Martinez with the foot injury.
Nebraska had been relatively silent on the status of Martinez for much of the season, but that was not necessarily a Martinez-specific decision. Many schools protect their players from injury news in the spotlight, even if it becomes a bit of a distraction. Head coach Bo Pelini is also not one to be too open with the media when he does not have to. From the sound of it, there is no reason to suspect Nebraska was handling Martinez’s injury in any alarming way.
Martinez is working out and training for upcoming workouts in front of NFL scouts. Nebraska’s pro day is scheduled for March 6. Martinez is hoping to be at full strength by then.