The announcement that we were all waiting for finally happened. Given the NCAA’s prickly history of ruling against the University of Miami and the, the scepticism remained high throughout the entire process. However, there’s a ray of sunshine upon Coral Gables — the Hurricanes will enter the 2019 season with all hands on deck, because Tate Martell was awarded a hardship waiver for the season. Let’s be honest: Plenty of you at the beginning of this process did not forcast that outcome.
In an age where rock stars are a dying breed, Tate Martell became one of the biggest stars at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. Martell has been a winner throughout his career, possessing the leadership qualities and intangibles at quarterback that made him a sought-after prospect out of high school. After spending a season at Ohio State, Tate (Tathan) Martell chose to enter the transfer portal to compete for a starting job elsewhere. After announcing his decision to attend the University of Miami, many speculated as to whether or not the QB would be able to play in 2019. After patiently waiting for weeks, the NCAA ruled in favor of Martell and the Canes, granting the sophomore immediate eligibility. Injecting further optimism in a promising offseason, Martell’s eligibility has reshaped Miami’s quarterback competition.
Considered a dual-threat QB, Martell can throw a rope in the middle of the field one play and follow it up with a scramble for huge yardage on the following play. At his last stop, new Miami offensive coordinator Dan Enos helped mold Alabama pivots Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa into championship-caliber commodities. Miami fans hope that’s the case for Martell and his peers.
Speaking of his peers, one of the questions for the program moving forward will be to see how the other quarterbacks on Miami’s roster react. With confirmation regarding Martell’s status now confirmed, the competition for the starting QB spot becomes a bit more intriguing. Redshirt freshman Jarren Williams and sophomore N’Kosi Perry present themselves as contenders to derail Martell’s ascension to the starting QB throne and freshman QB Peyton Matocha will join the program this summer. Miami also has preferred walk-on Carson Proctor, who worked with Coach Enos during his time in Arkansas.
There’s a lot to like about Tate Martell. His unapologetic style is reminiscent of the attitude of Canes’ past. Although he measures under six feet tall, he comes up big with his play, especially at crucial moments. The country got a taste of the Martell experience in the first season of Netflix’s QB1 docu-series, which follows Martell in his senior season at Bishop Gorman. If you follow the young man on social media, his larger-than-life personality extends beyond the field.
What gets lost in the Tate Martell experience is the fact that he’s a hard worker. Former Bishop Gorman teammates and now Canes teammates S Bubba Bolden and Brevin Jordan can testify to that. Although he’s got natural gifts at the QB position, Martell is an athlete who competes on every down. Score another point for winning Canes fans over. Although his time in Ohio State did not end with him winning the starting job, based on his social interactions with his former teammates, there doesn’t sound like there was any ill will among them.
For a program like Miami (that has struggled to find consistent play at the game’s most important position), Martell finds himself perhaps in the right situation at the best possible time. Ask a Hurricane fan and they’ll tell you that Miami is never lacking for talent at the skill positions. Now consider that the program has become a magnet for stellar tight end prospects. The options in the passing game will be in abundance for the Canes. If Miami can sort out the offensive line to pair with Martell’s skill set, then you finally understand why pockets among the fanbase have celebrated Martell’s arrival since the day he announced his intention to transfer to the program.
With the NFL being invaded by sub-six foot signal callers the likes of Baker Mayfield, Russell Wilson and soon-to-be pro Kyler Murray, Martell is an update to modern football that Miami needs. Pro football has illustrated that if you’re talented enough, your height is not indicative of future success. Given the Hurricanes’ struggle to find an offensive identity for the better part of a decade, Miami is in the business of finding winners. With months to go until the season opener, the time to turn championship potential into tangible reality continues, with No. 18 leading the charge.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!