Today’s Topic: What Will Tate Martell’s Departure Mean?
With Tate Martell’s appearance in the NCAA’s transfer portal last week, what was expected to be a relatively calm winter suddenly foamed white with choppy seas.
While Martell isn’t necessarily gone, based on social media sleuthing, it sure looks like he is on his way out. He was removed Ohio State from his Twitter profile and placed a question mark as his current location. On Sunday, he shared a photo of a road sign pointing the way to Morgantown, West Virginia as he apparently visited the Mountaineers as he continues to weigh his options.
At this point, it is safe to assume that he won’t be back, which means now it is time to figure out what Ryan Day’s next move will be.
The good news is that a fix doesn’t have to happen right now.
The bad news is that a “fix” isn’t what is being looked for, but rather depth is what is needed.
Why is that bad news? Because the Buckeyes aren’t likely to be able to lure a transfer quarterback of starter quality. Alabama’s Jalen Hurts isn’t going to transfer to Ohio State to then compete with Matthew Baldwin and Justin Fields. Neither is Notre Dame’s Brandon Wimbush or really any quarterback you have heard of who is currently a “free agent.”
How many of you knew the name Chris Chugunov this time a year ago?
When Joe Burrow transferred, the Buckeyes were put in a bad spot. Ryan Day wants four scholarship quarterbacks, and so they looked to the transfer market. They weren’t looking for a starter, however. They were looking for somebody who was happy to be a backup. That’s not always easy to find, but the Buckeyes got it done last year when Chugunov left West Virginia and came to Columbus during camp last fall.
Now it appears they will have to do it again — though Day is probably hoping it happens sooner this time around.
Having 50% of the scholarship quarterbacks on the roster being guys that Day doesn’t really want to ever start a game is not ideal. If somebody gets hurt, one of those two guys will be one bad snap away from being called upon to run the Buckeye offense.
Building quarterback depth is difficult, but right now it seems impossible. Walk-on quarterback Kory Curtis is also in the transfer portal and looking for a new home where playing time is a possibility.
Chugunov will wear out his eligibility following the 2019 season, as will likely whoever they get to come in this year.
That still puts them at just three scholarship quarterbacks in 2020, with Fields, Baldwin, and 2020 signee Jack Miller.
There does not appear to be any viable 2019 quarterback targets who are still unsigned, and Day doesn’t want to reach for a player only to be saddled with him for four years.
There is a possibility that they could look to sign two quarterbacks in the 2020 class, but they have to be careful not to upset the guy who has been committed since last summer. You don’t want to lose your first choice because you’re looking for a fourth choice.
Quarterback recruiting is a touchy situation, which is why it helps to have a guy like Ryan Day who can get the most out of the guys he has.
Depth is important, but what is even more important is having a coach who can turn the top two quarterbacks into productive players.
Without the ability to develop players, after all, it doesn’t matter how many stay or how many go.