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Tate Martell: Career timeline, journey for touted Ohio State quarterback

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Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell entered his name into the NCAA transfer database Thursday. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football

Tate Martell: Career timeline, journey for touted Ohio State quarterback

COLUMBUS — There may not be as an interesting of a quarterback battle as first thought at Ohio State this spring. On Thursday, quarterback Tate Martell entered his name into the NCAA transfer database and is now free to be contacted by any school in the country.

The Buckeyes recently added Georgia transfer Justin Fields to the mix, and after Martell vowed to fight for the starting job in the spring, he may now leave Columbus after playing in just six games for the Scarlet and Gray. It is an interesting change of heart from Martell after saying that is has been his dream since he was born to play for Ohio State just prior to the Rose Bowl, but a possible transfer would not be the most shocking move after his college recruitment dating back to 2012.

Lettermen Row is looking back on the timeline of the Las Vegas native’s recruitment — and the path to and now possibly away from Ohio State.

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Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell had a long, interesting journey to Columbus. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

July 26, 2012: Tate Martell commits to Washington at just 14 years old, just before starting eighth grade.

Jan. 5, 2015: After nearly three years, Martell decommits from the Huskies.

Aug. 20, 2015: Following an unofficial visit in July, Martell commits to Texas A&M.

March 24, 2016: Martell takes an unofficial visit to Ohio State.

May 4, 2016: Tate Martell decommits from Texas A&M.

June 11, 2016: Martell takes his second unofficial visit to the Buckeyes.

June 12, 2016: Martell commits to Ohio State.

July 22, 2016: Over a month into his pledge, Martell attends camp in Columbus.

Oct. 29, 2016: Martell takes an official visit to the Buckeyes.

Jan. 12, 2017: Martell enrolls at Ohio State and immediately starts talking about competing directly with established veteran J.T. Barrett for the starting role.

“There’s no guarantee who is going to play,” Martell said then. “I mean, it’s J.T.’s spot, but every day I’m going to go out there and compete and do everything I can.

“If I don’t play here, that’s going to be on me; that’s my own fault for not being good enough or anything. I’m coming here and I want to play. That’s what it is. I don’t care who I’m competing against. I want to play.”

Tate Martell-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Tate Martell has always talked about the starting job since his first day at Ohio State. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

March 9, 2017: Martell takes a shot at former quarterback J.T. Barrett in a now-deleted tweet saying, “lol…gotta let the media watch the whole practice and let them see for themselves.” Barrett had said in an interview following practice: “I wish you could ask him how his first two days went. It’s not Bishop Gorman. [Tell Jerry Emig to bring him out then]. I ain’t going to do that. He’d probably cry or something.”

Aug. 2017: Tate Martell is listed as the third quarterback on the depth chart behind starter Barrett and backup Joe Burrow.

May 19, 2018: Burrow announces that he will transfer to LSU from Ohio State, opening up the battle for the starting job with Dwayne Haskins.

June 15, 2018: Haskins is named the starter heading into the Buckeyes preseason camp over Martell.

Sept. 1, 2018: Martell makes his debut appearance in the Ohio State season opener against Oregon State, completing 3 of 4 passes for 33 yards and adding another four yards on the ground. His role would continue to increase throughout the season, including being used often in the red zone.

Dec. 18, 2018: Rumors of Georgia quarterback Justin Fields transferring begin to arise, and he officially lists his name on the NCAA transfer portal

Dec. 30, 2018: Martell says at Rose Bowl media day that he will stick around for the spring and fight for the starting job with Matthew Baldwin and Fields if he were to join the Buckeyes.

“Why would I leave for someone who hasn’t put a single second into this program yet,” Martell said. “I’ve put two years of working my ass off for something that I’ve been waiting for and dreaming of having my whole life.

“There’s no doubt, I know I wasn’t ready my freshman year, but two years of waiting around and having to compete with guys like Dwayne Haskins, Joe Burrow and J.T. Barrett, I know that I’m an elite quarterback. When I get my chance I will run the offense at a very high level.”

Jan. 4: Lettermen Row reports that Fields is transferring to Ohio State, later confirmed on the quarterback’s Twitter.

Jan. 7: Record-setting quarterback Dwayne Haskins declares for the NFL Draft.

Jan. 10: Martell lists his name on the NCAA transfer portal.

Jan. 15: Martell announces that he will be transferring to Miami (FL) to play for the Hurricanes.

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Michael Turner
Michael Turner

wow high level offense huh?


“very high level.” Too short, in my humble opinion.


“If I don’t play here, that’s going to be on me; that’s my own fault for not being good enough or anything. I’m coming here and I want to play. That’s what it is. I don’t care who I’m competing against. I want to play.” – Tater Tot Matrell


Nick is the producer at Lettermen Row. Born in Dayton, Nick recently graduated from Ohio State where he worked for The Lantern and the College of Veterinary Medicine. He also knows the city of Columbus and its love of sports well after interning with Columbus Crew SC and WBNS-10TV during his undergraduate education.

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