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Ohio State: No going back for Tate Martell with Buckeyes now

Tate Martell-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football
Ohio State and Tate Martell appear to be heading quickly for a parting of ways. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Question Of The Day

Ohio State: No going back for Tate Martell with Buckeyes now

The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics on Ryan Day and the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like the one today about Tate Martell? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.

Predicting anything with a guy who committed to three schools is always going to be tricky. But the fact that Tate Martell is already publicly revealing visits like he did over the weekend with a picture of him heading to West Virginia makes it easy to guarantee at least one thing: He’s not coming back to the Buckeyes.

Whatever his motivation, whether it is Justin Fields arriving or some dispute over how he’s expecting to be used or anything else, Martell’s actions over the last few days have put Ohio State in a tough spot. And it’s probably in the best interest of Ryan Day now to tell Martell the program won’t be honoring his scholarship past the end of the spring semester just to end the charade. There’s nothing positive happening for anybody with a current member of the Buckeyes posting pictures of other schools on social media, and since Martell entered his name in the transfer database, the school is free to sever its ties to the dual-threat quarterback.

Maybe that’s not even necessary, since Martell is sending plenty of signals that he’s done with Ohio State, some more subtle than others. It’s been a dramatic turnaround since he was standing in the media tent before the Rose Bowl declaring himself “100-percent” confident that he would win the starting job and unequivocally stating that he wouldn’t back down or transfer just because Fields was added to the quarterback battle.

Matthew Baldwin-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Ohio State quarterback Matthew Baldwin will be a factor in the position battle coming in the spring. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

This obviously isn’t the ending anybody would have wanted when the former Gatorade National Player of the Year signed two years ago, but it’s hard to see how it’s anything but inevitable at this point. Honestly, it’s probably been coming for a while, dating back to his absence just a couple days into training camp before last season when Martell was already talking about transferring. But that still doesn’t make it easy to swallow for anybody, particularly on the Ohio State side where the program still has to wait for word from the NCAA on the status of Fields as he appeals for instant eligibility.

That relatively thin depth chart of scholarship passers with Fields and Matthew Baldwin gunning for the top spot and graduate transfer Chris Chugunov in reserve is one factor that could entice the Buckeyes to overlook what Martell has done over the last few days. It’s also obviously well within Martell’s rights to find the best situation for himself, and nobody can fault him for using the system to make sure he finds that. If he doesn’t think that’s at Ohio State, so be it.

Ohio State has been through this sort of circus before with quarterbacks who are talented enough to start for many other teams but have to leave the program to do so. This is already quite different, though, than what transpired with Joe Burrow last season, and not just because sources with direct knowledge have indicated a graduate transfer isn’t possible for Martell at this point. Perhaps that’s his biggest reason for rushing into the database instead of sticking around to actually see where he stacks up against Fields in spring practice, and maybe that will be the next thing revealed on his social-media tour of life in the transfer portal.

So, where will Tate Martell eventually land? West Virginia and Miami appear to be at the top of the list, but the only safe bet is that his next spot won’t be Ohio State.

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Austin Ward

Austin Ward is Lettermen Row's senior writer covering Ohio State football and basketball. The award-winning journalist has covered the Buckeyes since 2012, spending five of those seasons working for ESPN after previous stints at the Casper Star-Tribune and Knoxville News Sentinel.