Former Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell, who was most recently a part of Miami (Fla.)’s roster, is going to his third program during his college tenure, transferring closer to home with a move to UNLV, according to a report by Josh Poloha of Waiting For Next Year.
The team swapping isn’t new for Martell, as it is something that started during his recruitment. He committed to Washington on July 26, 2012 when he was just 14 years old. He decommitted from the Huskies on Jan. 5, 2015 and committed to Texas A&M on Aug. 20 of that year. On May 4, 2016, he decommitted again before ultimately committing to the Buckeyes on June 12.
Martell played primarily in garbage time for Ohio State, but his numbers were impressive. In his lone season on the field, 2018, Martell completed 23 of 28 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown. He also ran 22 times for 128 yards and two scores.
His highlight performance came against Rutgers on Sept. 8. There, Martell completed all 10 of his passes for 121 yards and a score, the touchdown coming on a 51-yard heave to Terry McLaurin in the second quarter on a 3rd and 16.
Martell also made an explosive play on the ground, scoring on the ground from 47 yards out to make it 52-3.
But Martell has not made a splash since his time with Ohio State. He did make a splash verbally in his final weeks with the program, first calling his shot at the starting job once Dwayne Haskins left during Rose Bowl’s media day. Then, once new quarterback Justin Fields was on campus, he followed Martell’s sister, Rylee, on Instagram while sitting next to Haskins at an Ohio State men’s basketball game. Martell was also in attendance for that game, but sat away from the other two quarterbacks.
Eventually, Martell went back on his words and entered the transfer portal, ultimately landing with the Hurricanes. finished third for the starting job with the Hurricanes to both N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams before Houston transfer D’Eriq King took over in 2020. But, Martell opted out for King’s tenure, and by that time he has also been attempting to get on the field as a wide receiver.
Martell finished his time with the Hurricanes completing his only pass for 7 yards and rushing seven times for 7 yards with no touchdowns.
Now, Martell joins a UNLV team that could very well need a spark from a former high four-star in-state prospect that ranked as the No. 56 player in his recruiting class out of Las Vegas Bishop Gorman. The Rebels went 0-6 in 2020 and have not had a winning record since 2013, when they went 7-6.
Max Gilliam was the primary quarterback for UNLV last season, and he finished the season completing 60.1 percent of his passes for 786 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. Gilliam is no longer on the team, leaving the starting role that much more wide open for the taking. Justin Rogers, who was 14 of 22 for 161 yards and a touchdown last year, is the presumed frontrunner.
If Martell were to join UNLV and win the job, the matchup to look for is an Oct. 23 game against San Jose State. The Spartans’ starting quarterback is Nick Starkel, who was previously at Arkansas and, notably, Texas A&M. During Martell’s recruitment, he said in a leaked direct message: “Texas A&M I can start as a true freshman easy, all their QB’s left and all there is going to be is Nick Starkel and he’s ass my dude.”
Starkel had previously blocked Martell on Twitter before the two settled their differences earlier this year. Still, Starkel seemed excited about the idea of playing against Martell on the football field for the first time in their collegiate careers.
For four free issues of the print edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin, no card required, sign up at the link here: http://www.buckeyesports.com/subscribe-4issue-trial/