Photo Credit: State of The U
A few weeks after former Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell definitively stated to the media he would be a Buckeye for the 2019 season, regardless of who his competition was, Martell has changed his mind and announced a few days ago that he will continue his career at The University of Miami. The news comes after much speculation turned to reality that former 5-star Georgia quarterback Justin Fields would transfer to Ohio State. While the swap of Martell for Fields may come as an upgrade for the Buckeyes, Martell’s transfer leaves the Buckeyes extremely thin in depth, and with little to no experience. Should Justin Fields not receive immediate eligibility from the NCAA, it would leave the Buckeyes to turn to true sophomore Matthew Baldwin, a 3-star quarterback from Lake Travis, Texas. Baldwin received zero playing time in his first year on the team, so having Fields receive his waiver to play right away is very important for the Buckeyes success heading into the 2019 season.
Despite the question marks these moves create, one positive to come is that Head Coach Ryan Day seems to have gotten the right guy for his offense. Martell’s short build along with his inconsistency throwing the ball and relying heavily on his legs to make plays for the offense does not fit the scheme Day and his staff wants to run in the future. Instead, Fields’ tall frame and NFL caliber arm allow him to make throws Martell simply can’t make on a regular basis. This will allow the Buckeyes to continue their “pro-style” offense, much to the likes of last season with Dwayne Haskins, rather than rely heavily on the designed quarterback runs we saw with Braxton Miller and JT Barrett under Urban Meyer’s offense in previous years.
Regardless of whether the swap of Martell for Fields ends up being a success on the field, which it certainly is set up to be, it will be viewed as a success for the program as a whole. Ever since Day took over for Meyer on January 2nd, the offseason has been filled with coaching turnover and player personnel moves made to fit Day’s ideal team. Many, including myself, were worried Day would feel obligated to run the Ohio State program as an extension of what Meyer would have done, considering he would still be an employee of Ohio State and close to the football program. However, that is far from the case. Instead, Day has taken over and run things his way, which is exactly how it should be. Overall, I think the Tate Martell transfer is the best cases scenario for both Ohio State and Martell. It signals the end of the predominantly dual threat, zone read offense. It allows for Day to immediately get a quarterback that fits his offense and allows him to hopefully have his quarterback immediately. For Martell, the transfer to Miami allows him to step into a new program with a new coaching staff and potentially compete for a starting job as soon as he is eligible. I definitely think this is a win-win situation for both parties involved.