I think it’s fitting that the day I start writing this article Tate Martell put his name into the transfer portal. With this being said, the odds of Martell staying are now slim to none. Reports are coming in that he is looking at West Virginia or Miami. It’s very odd to see this after Martell said, “Why would I leave for someone who hasn’t put a single second into this program yet?” This was said during the Rose Bowl week when Justin Fields reportedly was interested in coming to Columbus. Martell went on to say even if Fields transfers that wont stop him from fighting for the job he feels he has earned. The biggest quote was Martell saying, “I have no doubt I’ll win the job… I’m 100% sure on that.”
Two weeks later he is exploring his possibilities to show off his talents in another jersey. I will never have a problem with a kid transferring, if the place isn’t right for him then so be it. It’s not my life and I have no idea what they are going through. We saw a similar example with Athens, Ohio native Joe Burrow who graduate transferred to LSU and won the starting job this past year. For Martell to come out with those strong words and back it up with exploring his options just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. In my opinion, Martell would have the upper hand going into spring practice with playbook knowledge and being on campus for two plus years.
The rules on the transfer portal are similar to recruiting a kid in high school. Any team can talk to a recruit, including Ohio State. Fields did this in late December and now Martell is in this middle January. At the end of the day, Martell can come back to Ohio State graduate in May. If that happens, he can be a gradate transfer eligible to start for any team next fall. Martell is at Ohio State for school this semester.
Fields’ story is a unique one as he was the number 2 high school recruit coming into college this time last year after picking the Georgia Bulldogs. Fields was backup to Jake Fromm and was splitting playing time early on. Fields is a dual-sport athlete as he plays baseball as well. During the home game September 29th against the Tennessee Volunteers, his teammate ALL-SEC first baseman Adam Sasser yelled multiple times from the stands, “PUT THAT N****R IN THE GAME!” Since the incident the University of Georgia has dismissed Sasser from the school.
Fields would typically have to sit out a year for transferring, but Fields’ attorney Thomas Mars thinks he can use the new NCAA transfer waiver guideline. The new guidelines include a provision for undergraduate transfers and states that a player may not have to spend one year-in-residence before taking the field for their new team if "the transfer is due to documented mitigating circumstances that are outside the student-athlete’s control and directly impact the health, safety and well-being of the student-athlete."
At the end of the day, being a die hard Buckeye, I want the best player to play. Martell could be jumping ship too early with the NCAA still not deciding if Fields is eligible. Ryan day could be in a little debacle with Fields sitting out a year, Martell transferring and having to possibly start sophomore Matthew Baldwin 6’3 quarterback out of Austin, Texas. On top of all this, the craziest scenario is if Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts decides to come to Ohio State as a graduate transfer and starts during this limbo year of quarterbacks.
Ohio State football has undergone a whirlwind of craziness recently with Urban leaving, Haskins declaring for the NFL, Martell entering the transfer protocol and Justin Fields unsure if he can play this year. Expect new head coach Ryan Day and his staff to tame this ship and take some names this upcoming year.
Cheers to a new chapter and Go Buckeyes!