It was only a few years ago when the Netflix show “QB1” was released in early 2017, featuring high school football stars such as Jake Fromm and Tate Martell. It was no accident that Martell was selected to be featured on this show, he had a truly legendary high school career. Throughout his 3 year career at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, NV, Martell was able to lead them to a 45-0 record with 7,510 passing yards and 113 total TD’s. Aside from putting up stats worthy of being one of the greatest high school players of all time, he also led Bishop Gorman to 3 straight national championships during his undefeated tenure as their QB.
At just 14 years old, University of Washington coach Steve Sarkisian got Martell to commit to the Huskies since Sarkisian could see he was going to be something special. It’s hard to believe a 14 year old would be able to hold a commitment for 4 years, which is true because he ended up flipping his commitment in favor of attending the Ohio State University.
Unfortunately for Martell, when he enrolled at OSU, he ended up redshirting his freshman year since he was stuck behind QB stars JT Barrett and Dwayne Haskins, so it made more sense to preserve a year of eligibilty than to be stuck low in the depth chart. His second year at OSU with JT Barrett gone, he was able to get some game snaps in garbage time during blowouts, but still stuck behind Dwayne Haskins.
After 2 underwhelming years as a Buckeye and with incoming transfer Justin Fields likely to take over the starting job, Martell decided to transfer to the University of Miami. Miami was ushering in a new head coach and offensive coordinator at the time with Manny Diaz (previously their DC) and Dan Enos (QB coach from Alabama who produced Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa). Expectations were high for QBs with Enos and his pedigree at Alabama, which is probably what most attracted Martell to Coral Gables to play for the Hurricanes.
There was no returning starting QB for Miami, so it was a three way open competition for the job between Tate Martell, N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams. Martell ended up losing this QB battle and ended up 3rd on the depth chart. This season ended up going as poorly as possible for Martell as he decided to switch positions during the season to WR where he saw limited playing time, before ultimately switching back to QB where he’d find himself back on the bench. It wasn’t until the final game of the year in the Independence Bowl where Miami had trouble putting up any type of offense, they turned to Martell for 1 series under center where he failed to impress and was replaced after that drive.
Fast forward to the current 2020 season, Martell was not even listed in the top 3 of Miami’s opening game depth chart which was very surprising considering a true freshman Tyler Van Dyke made it onto 3rd string. It wasn’t until after their first game that head coach Manny Diaz mentioned that Martell was not active for game 1 due to being suspended. A day before Miami was set to take on Louisville for their second game of the season, it was made public that Tate Martell had decided to opt out of the 2020 season altogether.
There had been a lot of speculation throughout social media over the past year ever since Martell lost the initial QB battle upon his arrival at Miami that he may be looking to transfer again. His decision to opt out the week after being suspended and not even making the depth chart creates some real smoke that Martell’s days left in Miami may be numbered. Since everyone will gain a free year of eligibility due to this unknown season, Martell will still have 2 years of eligibilty remaining should he return to Miami or go play elsewhere.
After having such an illustrious high school career and being a highly touted recruit, through his four years as a college athlete, he has yet to make any significant impact in either of the programs he has been a part of. When Martell decided to transfer from Ohio State, many were calling him a guy who “runs from competition”, and if he were to leave Miami, this would only further reinforce this label for him.
Perhaps Martell just isn’t a Division 1 FBS caliber of a QB? Some believe Martell would be better off transferring to a lower caliber program, such as UNLV which is where he is from in Las Vegas, to have less competition in the QB room to allow him playing time to showcase what he can do. What is becoming more glaringly obvious by the day is that the longer he decides to stay at Miami, the less of a football future he may have both in college and in the NFL. Since Martell has opted out of this season, he won’t be seeing any playing time this year, so now we just wait to see what his next move will be. Hopefully Tate Martell can find a way to resurrect his football career and avoid being labeled as one of the biggest college QB busts of all time.