Before flaming out at multiple programs, Tate Martell was unanimously regarded as one of the 2017 recruiting class’s crown jewels. The electric dual-threat quarterback compensated for his slight stature with bravado, innate athleticism, polished mechanics, and an ability to extend plays outside of the pocket. However, somewhere along the way, Martell’s path to prominence got derailed. The talented signal-caller appeared destined for college football stardom — but was left behind by many of his peers from the celebrated recruiting class.
The journey of Miami QB Tate Martell
High school wunderkind
Closing out his high school career with a perfect 43-0 record for Bishop Gorman as a three-year starter at quarterback, Tate Martell was in high demand.
After all, the dual-threat signal-caller passed for 7,507 yards and 113 touchdowns against just nine interceptions, while compiling another 2,294 yards and 35 touchdowns as a runner.
As a senior, Martell threw for 2,362 yards and 41 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,257 yards and 21 touchdowns, which ultimately earned him the Southwest Offensive MVP Award.
Featured | Cummings’ 3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft
The Las Vegas native was no stranger to accolades and was named a first-team all-state performer each season as a starter. Martell also earned U.S. Army All-American and National Player of the Year honors from Gatorade, USA Today, and Max Preps. Listed as a five-star quarterback by Scout, Martell was regarded as the nation’s No. 2 dual-threat quarterback by Scout, Rivals, and 247Sports.
Although he drew interest from over two dozen schools — including Alabama, Auburn, LSU, and Michigan — Martell committed to Ohio State late in the recruiting process.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Many expected Martell to challenge for a starting job upon arriving in Columbus, coming off a decorated high school career. Instead, the Nevada native redshirted as he adapted to the collegiate level and learned the intricacies of the position.
Following the departure of J.T. Barrett to the professional ranks, Martell took part in a spirited quarterback duel with Dwayne Haskins. Although Haskins was ultimately named the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback, Martell saw limited action.
Appearing in six games, Martell completed 23 of 28 pass attempts for 269 yards and a touchdown — a 51-yarder to Terry McLaurin. He also rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite demonstrating growth and showcasing some of the traits that made him such a highly-coveted prospect, Martell faced an uncertain future. Upside-laden quarterback Justin Fields, playing behind Jake Fromm at Georgia, decided to transfer to Ohio State.
Rather than engaging in another quarterback competition, Martell decided to enter the transfer portal. After much deliberation, he chose the University of Miami.
Despite heading south in search of a new opportunity, Martell again found himself in a reserve role. The Hurricanes ran with quarterbacks Jarren Williams and N’Kosi Perry, with Martell honing his skills on the third-team.
The 5-foot-11, 205-pound quarterback participated in five games in 2019, accounting for just ten yards of total offense.
The crowded Hurricanes’ quarterback room would get a little more crowded shortly following the season with the addition of former Houston signal-caller D’Eriq King. Martell, now approaching his redshirt junior campaign, found himself at a career crossroad.
Martell struggled to find his footing in fall camp and tumbled down the depth chart. However, to make matters worse, he was suspended for the season-opener over a team matter.
The highly-touted prospect steered his career into another detour over the weekend when Martell revealed he would be opting out of the 2020 college football season.
Martell’s decision to bolt from his second program in as many years is the latest in what has been a roller coaster of a course. However, suppose Martell can land on his feet, with a program that best suits his skill set. In that case, the enigmatic quarterback has the inherent intangibles to resurrect what once began as a promising career four years ago.