They say the backup quarterback is the most popular player in sports, but that may not be quite true. The most popular player in sports is actually the possible 5-star quarterback who is thinking of transferring to your school.
For Tate Martell, who is currently Ohio State’s backup quarterback, he has yet to live the life of a popular backup because nobody has had a problem with starter Dwayne Haskins. He is now also having to deal with the attention being given to the possible transfer of Georgia freshman quarterback — and former 5-star prospect — Justin Fields to Ohio State.
Fields was a highly-rated blue chip prospect in the 2018 class, just as Martell was the year before.
Martell has heard the conversations about Fields, but it hasn’t changed anything about how he goes to work.
“It doesn’t change anything for me,” Martell said at Rose Bowl media day on Sunday. “I love my teammates and my teammates love me. They know that I’m one person that’s going to go out there and fight it out. That’s what I’ve always done and I have no problem doing it. I’ve been an underdog my whole life. I have no problem going out there and taking the job.”
One of the reasons Martell isn’t concerned is because he knows first-hand just how difficult this offense is to master.
“It’s an NFL-type of offense, so it’s difficult to learn,” he said. “It takes people a while to get it down. Even Dwayne, I was talking to Dwayne about it, he was like, ‘Well, it took me over a year to feel like I was even comfortable on the field.’ Now, after two years of being in, I know what I’m doing. I’m on point with everything I do. I’m running the offense.”
But there is also the fact that Martell has now put in two years of learning that offense. As the backup quarterback, he believes he is next in line to be the starting quarterback at Ohio State.
Some people may think that Martell would look to transfer if Justin Fields does end up a Buckeye. Instead, Martell knows the offense needs four scholarship quarterbacks and who that quarterback is won’t change his goals in 2019.
“Why would I leave for somebody who hasn’t put a single second into this program yet?” he said. “I’ve put two years of working my ass off into something that I’ve been praying for and dreaming of my whole life. To just run from somebody that hasn’t put a single second into workouts or anything like that and doesn’t know what the program is all about, there’s not a chance.”
With the likelihood that Dwayne Haskins will leave for the NFL following the Rose Bowl, Martell finally sees his first opportunity to be the starting quarterback and now isn’t the time to back out on what he has worked so hard to achieve.
There’s also the fact that he has no doubts who will be replacing Haskins next year as the Buckeyes’ starter.
“I will,” he said. “I’m 100% sure on it.”