On Monday, Miami Head Coach Manny Diaz named redshirt freshman Jarren Williams the Hurricanes’ starting quarterback for their “Week 0” matchup against Florida on Aug. 24.
Williams beat out N’Kosi Perry, who started six games for Miami last season and played in five others, and Ohio State transfer Tate Martell for the starting job.
The announcement comes less than two weeks after sportsbetting.ag tabbed Martell as the favorite to start at quarterback in the Hurricanes’ first game at +100 odds — ahead of Perry at +150 and Williams at +250.
Right or wrong, Martell is receiving most of the attention of the three players after the announcement, even if he’ll start the season in a backup, or even third-string, capacity.
Diaz said in a statement that there is still an active competition for the backup quarterback role.
For hardcore college football fans, especially those with a keen eye on recruiting, Martell, the former top-100 recruit who was ranked as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback prospect in the 2017 recruiting class, feels like he’s been around the sport for a decade.
That’s because he almost has, even though the redshirt sophomore has attempted just 28 passes in his college career.
Martell committed to Washington in 2012, when he was a 14-year-old, eighth-grader-to-be.
Three years later he committed to Texas A&M.
Of course, he never played for either school, eventually settling on Ohio State by way of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas (he also transferred in high school).
His list of reported offers included Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Michigan and USC.
On his 247Sports profile that lists the timeline of his recruitment, one of the entries reads, “Ohio State QB recruit removes letter ‘M’ from Twitter feed,” a reference to the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, proving that no current college football player is a better microcosm of the modern-day intersection of recruiting, social media and branding — actual production aside.
*His legal first name is Tathan, not Tate. Seriously.
*He’s the player who once tweeted (and later deleted), “word of advice: don’t swing and miss … especially not your second time,” after it was reported that former Georgia quarterback Justin Fields would transfer to Ohio State in the offseason, potentially joining Martell in the Buckeyes’ quarterback room.
But Martell transferred from Ohio State before ever competing with Fields for the starting quarterback job in Columbus. Ohio State Coach Ryan Day still hasn’t named a starting quarterback, which is likely coach speak, but it means that theoretically, Martell could’ve been in the running for the starting job at Ohio State right now if he had stayed.
Instead, he received an immediate eligibility waiver, which was an accomplishment in itself, that will allow him to play this season for Miami without having to sit out the typically mandatory redshirt year.
He was able to get the waiver because Ohio State had a coaching change and Day didn’t have a “place for Martell on the roster,” according to CBS Sports.
Even if it’s somewhat overstated, Martell was briefly a poster child for “free agency” in college football as he was one of several high-profile quarterbacks to switch from big-name schools in the offseason, just as Fields (Georgia to Ohio State) and Jalen Hurts (Alabama to Oklahoma) did.
So while Martell appeared to be the potential solution in the offseason to fixing a Hurricanes offense that ranked 113th in passing yards per game last season and No. 66 overall in Football Outsiders’ S&P+ ratings, we’ll have to wait and see if he truly is the answer behind center.
That’s because Williams, the 6-2, 210-pound redshirt freshman, will get the first-team reps going forward.
He took advantage of the new redshirt rule that was implemented last season that allowed players to play in up to four games and maintain their redshirt for the season. Williams appeared in one game against Savannah State, going 1-for-3 for 17 yards with a rushing touchdown.
“All three guys showed tremendous improvement and development, which is a credit to their hard work and the work of Dan Enos and his offensive staff,” Manny Diaz said in a release. “We believe we can win with all three guys, however, we feel like Jarren has the greatest upside due to his passing ability, his instincts and his determination.
“As we move into preparation for the Florida game we will continue the competition to determine who will serve as the backup quarterback.”
So we’re left with Martell, the former 4-star recruit whose best college tape came in mop-up duty during a rout of Rutgers last season, being relegated to a backup quarterback competition at a school that could use some rejuvenation at the position.
But with three years of eligibility left for one of college football’s most #online players, this isn’t the last we’ve heard from Tathan Martell.