Of all the possible subjects to embody the bold new way of college football recruiting, Tathan "Tate" Martell isn't the most likely. Martell is entering the eighth grade and is still some way off from picking his eventual high school destination. He's a talented quarterback, complete with solid fundamentals and strong field vision, but the last time he was able to showcase any of those skills in a competitive game, he was just 13 years old.
In short, Tate Martell is precisely the kind of kid who should be enjoying summer camp, not weighing college football scholarship offers.
Incredibly, Martell finds himself doing the latter after he received an offer to join the Washington Huskies' recruiting class of 2017. According to the Seattle Times, Martell accepted the offer after conferring with his father, even though he won't be able to sign off on the scholarship papers for five years.
"You put this opportunity in front of 100 14-year-olds, and I guarantee you that you are at probably 100 percent [who would take it]," Martell's father, Al Martell, told the Times.
It's entirely possible that Martell will eventually become a top-flight college quarterback. Still, trying to predict that success based on an extremely limited middle school sample size is either risky or downright crazy, depending on whom one asks.
While Martell may be the latest hot name in the youth recruiting movement, he's not the first. In fact, he shares a common bond with the current poster child of early recruiting, 16-year-old Delaware native David Sills, who committed to USC when he was just 14; like Sills, Martell has been trained by renowned quarterback guru Steve Clarkson.
Sills remains committed to the Trojans and enjoyed two impressive high school seasons at Bear (Del.) Red Lion Christian Academy since he made his pledge to coach Lane Kiffin. Whether Martell will be able to find similar success under the glare of a Pac-12 scholarship remains to be seen.
For his part, the younger Martell admitted to being a bit overawed at how the entire process has unfolded.
"I really didn't expect it to happen at this point, at how young I am," he said in an interview with The Seattle Times. "It's just weird, weird — but really cool. I'm looking forward to it. It's a great opportunity."
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