PASADENA, Calif. – Tate Martell says he’s not going anywhere.
Ever since the redshirt freshman quarterback stepped foot on Ohio State’s campus, rumors of his transfer have swirled, and they haven’t stopped. With Dwayne Haskins likely to leave for the NFL draft, the starting quarterback spot will open, and Martell will be among those competing to win the job.
However, Ohio State is expected to add another quarterback before next season and reportedly has interest in Georgia’s Justin Fields as a transfer. Even if Ryan Day lands Fields, the No. 2-ranked prospect in the 2018 recruiting cycle, Martell said he will not transfer out of Ohio State. If Haskins heads to the NFL, he expects to start next fall.
“I have no doubt that I'll go out there and win the job,” Martell said on Sunday at Rose Bowl media day.
After spending two years preparing to be Ohio State’s quarterback, Martell said he doesn’t see why he would leave.
“There's no reason I should,” Martell said. “I know what kind of quarterback I am. I'm an elite quarterback. I know that after two years of being here, I run our offense at a very efficient level, and I know once we put the zone read back in, it will be very fun for me.”
The possible addition of Fields, who would have to apply to the NCAA for a hardship waiver to be eligible to play immediately as a transfer, would cloud Martell’s future at Ohio State. He’s a talented passer who was viewed by many people as the top-rated dual-threat quarterback in his class.
However, Martell doesn’t see why he would leave simply due to Fields ending up at Ohio State.
“There's no reason I shouldn't (stay),” Martell said on Sunday. “This dude hasn't put a single second into Ohio State football. I don't know why somebody would think that the grass is greener on the other side, but I guess he's kind of looking at it like a fantasy way, I guess.”
Urban Meyer recruited and landed Martell, who has shown his elusive running ability since arriving at Ohio State. He has succeeded with dual-threat quarterbacks with similar skill sets to Martell's.
Martell said he is not worried about not fitting into Day’s offense, since Day has worked with similar quarterbacks.
“Coach Day, he does a good job of work with whatever he has,” Martell said. “Like I've said before, he worked under coach (Dana) Bible and coach Chip Kelly, learned all that stuff from them. And they've always used dual-threat guys. He's worked with guys that can run the ball, so he knows what to do when he's out there. He's going to give us the best chance to go out there and win games.”
Martell admitted it has been difficult waiting his time, since he wants to play. But he said he feels he has benefited from sitting behind J.T. Barrett and Haskins, which will lead to him having a smaller learning curve.
“I love my boys,” Martell said. “All my guys in my class, I'd do anything for them. They know that, too. My whole team knows that. That's why I'm still here at this point. Because there's probably a ton of other schools that I could be starting for right now. Just look at what Joe (Burrow) did. The fact that at one point there was J.T., Joe, Dwayne and me in the same room, it's kind of crazy to look at it like that. Joe leaves, only gets one summer with a team and there he is, a starting quarterback for a top SEC program. It just kind of shows what we have.”
Right now, Ohio State has four quarterbacks: Haskins, Martell, Baldwin and Chris Chugunov.
Haskins hasn't announced his decision yet, and Day is expected to add one more quarterback before next season, but Martell wanted to make clear on Sunday that he expects to be on the team next season. And if Haskins heads to the NFL, he intends to start.