Tate Martell is up next in the series titled J.T. Barrett Discusses Ohio State Quarterbacks, following the publication of Barrett’s perspective on Kenny Guiton, Braxton Miller and Cardale Jones, and most recently, Dwayne Haskins.
Barrett and Martell spent just one year together after Martell enrolled at Ohio State as part of the talent-laden 2017 class, which also included J.K. Dobbins, Jeff Okudah and Chase Young.
Martell took a redshirt during the 2017 season, while Barrett set Ohio State single-season records for touchdowns responsible for and passing scores (which would later be broken by Haskins). Despite the fact that Martell did not suit up in scarlet and gray that year, the two spent an abundance of time together in meetings and on the practice field.
Making due of his practice reps, Martell was able to impress Barrett as he observed from the sidelines.
“My guy Tate, he’s like a little jitterbug or something,” Barrett told Buckeye Sports Bulletin of Martell. “When he first got there, I wasn’t aware of how quick and fast he was. Rolling out, scrambling, still able to make plays in the pocket, but once he’s outside the pocket, is he going to throw? Or is he going to run? Of the people I played with, Braxton was the best at running without a doubt, and I’ll say Tate is right behind him as far as his ability to move and make somebody miss, whether it be in the open field or just rolling around in the pocket. Hopefully, he does well down there in Miami.”
Barrett was interviewed before the 2019 season, which did not go as Martell might have anticipated in Miami.
The former five-star signal caller from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman failed to win the Hurricane starting gig and even took time away from the team for a stretch. Martell saw limited action in the Independence Bowl against Louisiana Tech, completing his lone pass of the season for seven yards, while rushing five times for five yards.
BSB reached out to CaneSport writer Gary Ferman to find more out about the Martell situation in December, when he said Martell was not even close to good enough to play at Miami.
From being away from the team and dating an Instagram model, Martell had developed a somewhat negative reputation. Okudah, one of his former teammates, gave a different perspective into who Martell is as a person than the inaccurate public persona in his heartfelt letter to his deceased mother.
“And then Tate, you know….. I think you really would have liked Tate. You raised me to trust my own compass, and judge people for myself — and I think Tate is one of these guys where there’s this perception of him that just isn’t true. He was always reaching out to me after you passed, and not in a way where it felt like some obligation on his part. It was like my pain was his pain, and he wanted me to know that. He made me feel like I was a part of his family — his mom would even check up on me. And little stuff like that means everything when you’ve just lost your own mom. Tate was always there for whatever I needed.”
Perhaps Martell has been misjudged both on and off the field and he can regain the magic that made him a 45-0 starter in high school and one of the most sought-after recruits in the country.
Even an Ohio State great like Barrett did not hold Martell’s decision to transfer against him. After all, everyone deserves the opportunity to do what’s best for him or her, and as Barrett wisely stated:
“Being at Ohio State isn’t for everybody.”
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