Welcome to “The New Miami” where Manny Diaz is the mayor (irony) and the University of Miami is bringing in blue-chip recruits on a seemingly daily basis.
Shortly after the news hit that receiver Jeff Thomas was backing off his decision to leave Miami and is coming back to Coral Gables, the Hurricanes landed a commitment from Ohio State transfer quarterback Tate Martell early Wednesday morning.
The former Buckeye made his announcement via social media in Wednesday’s wee hours.
Martell, redshirt freshman, spent this past season backing up Dwayne Haskins and completed 23-of-28 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown along with rushing for 128 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The 5-foot-11 Tathan Martell was the No. 56 recruit in the country back in 2017 as a dual-threat quarterback.
Martell is the fifth player to transfer into Miami since the season ended.
Former Buffalo receiver K.J. Osborn and Butler offensive tackle Tommy Kennedy both joined the Canes in the past months as graduate transfers, meaning they would be available to play right away in the upcoming 2019 season. Former Southern California safety Bubba Bolden also transferred to Miami last week and is reported to also be available to play in 2019 since he’s been taking classes at a junior college and is set to graduate in the spring.
Former Auburn freshman running back Asa Martin also transferred to Miami this offseason and will sit out the 2019 season as a traditional transfer.
Martell’s availability to suit up for the Hurricanes this coming season, however, is still in question. Martell is a considered a traditional transfer, but he could possibly fall grad transfer rules if he is granted an NCAA waiver. If he isn’t granted a waiver, Martell will have to sit out a mandated year and will have three years of eligibility beginning in 2020.
It was speculated that the Canes would be in the running for a couple of high-profile quarterback transfers this offseason. Some thought that former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts would make his way to Coral Gables once the Hurricanes inked his former quarterback coach with the Crimson Tide Dan Enos to be offensive coordinator.
Martell’s decision to come to Miami doesn’t necessarily mean that Hurts is completely off the table for the Canes, though. Hurts would be a graduate transfer and is available to play his one year of remaining eligibility in 2019. So, if Martell’s waiver petition is denied, Hurts could still come to The U and play while Martell sits out. Hurts is reported to be deciding between Oklahoma, Miami, and Maryland – where former Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley has become head coach.
Adding Martell gives the Hurricanes their third player from football powerhouse Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School. Freshman tight end Brevin Jordan, who was the nation’s No. 1 tight end prospect coming out of high school, came from Bishop Gorman and was teammates with Martell and Bolden.
While Jordan will be happy to see Martell on Miami campus, the three quarterbacks still on Miami’s roster probably aren’t.
Redshirt freshmen N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon along with freshman Jarren Williams all – to varying degrees – felt they had a stake to claim to be the Hurricanes’ starting quarterback in 2019. And they all still might, depending on Martell’s waiver petition and the ultimate decision of Hurts.
If Martell can’t play in 2019 and Hurts doesn’t come, either Perry or Williams – and to a much lesser degree Weldon – will be the team’s quarterback this coming season.
Perry is the only one of the three with significant experience, but he’s had too many off-field issues and hasn’t invoked confidence with fans and coaches given that he wasn’t able to completely beat out lackluster senior Malik Rosier. As a part of Mark Richt’s game of musical chairs with his quarterbacks this past season, Perry completed 97 of 191 passes (50.8 percent) for 1,091 yards with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Williams only saw mop-up duty action in one game this season – Miami’s early season win against Savannah State – and wasn’t truly considered an option to play despite the struggles of the signal callers in front of him on the depth chart. Williams reportedly became frustrated by the lack of playing time and threatened to transfer out, but he backed off his claim and elected to stay.
Now, with Martell in the fold and the possibility of adding Hurts still on the table, the Hurricanes quarterback situation has become a bit convoluted.