Adrian Martinez has visited Rocky Top three times now, and even after Tennessee’s disastrous showing against Georgia on Saturday, the 4-star quarterback commit remains firmly pledged to the Vols.
“The outcome wasn’t what we wanted it to be, but man, I just loved the atmosphere. I just love UT. I want to be here," Martinez told VolQuest after wrapping up his official visit with Tennessee.
"It’s such a family atmosphere. I love the coaches. My best friend (from California), he’s applying to this school, too. He’s not playing sports but he came with me and he loved it within 10 minutes and I told him, ‘Man, you see what I see.’”
After visiting Tennessee twice this summer, Martinez got the opportunity to catch his first real game in Neyland Stadium on Saturday. He talked glowingly about the pregame atmosphere, fan support and seeing Peyton Manning up close. He openly lamented the game's outcome, but the Under Armour All-American quarterback is already giddy about his future opportunity to play in front of the Vols faithful.
“It was a sellout crowd. The Checkerboard was awesome. I don’t think it gets better than that besides winning the game. I loved it," he said.
"I love the fans and being there to experience it all.”
Saturday’s result certainly put a damper on the weekend visit, as the mood inside the locker room was obviously much different after the blowout loss. But Martinez said head coach Butch Jones remained upbeat and delivered a positive message to the 2018 class — with most of the commits and top targets in attendance Saturday.
“(Jones) said that they’re a few players away from really being in contention for a national championship, but that our class can really add to the previous classes,” Martinez said.
“That we can really do something special. I think we’re buying into that. We can really do some really good things.”
Tennessee’s quarterbacks, mainly junior Quinten Dormady, have really struggled this year and while Martinez is sitting out his senior season to recover from labrum surgery, California native has been told to be ready to compete when he gets on campus in January.
“If I come in and take care of business there will be a real shot for me to compete and really challenge some people,” Tennessee’s future early enrollee quarterback said.
“That’s the message I’m getting.”
With the turmoil surrounding the program right now, Martinez said it’s key for the 2018 class — with 23 commits already on board — to stick together. They’ve had a group chat for months, but hanging out with each other in person was big this weekend, especially with priority targets Jerome Carvin and wideout Jeshaun Jones around, too.
“We have to stick together. We’re a family,” Martinez said. “It already feels like such a family anyways with our group. We talk everyday. It was like a family reunion getting back together. But recruiting never ends. There’s always those guys that might be on the boarder just because that’s how they are or things go, but we’re making sure we’re keeping those guys in.”
Martinez leaned hard on Carvin all weekend, hoping to add the 4-star offensive tackle from Memphis to an OL class that already includes 5-star Cade Mays.
“I don’t think it could’ve gone better," Martinez said of his time with Carvin.
“It was great. Honestly, the coolest part is being with the OL and calling Cade (Mays), Ollie (Lane) and Tanner (Antonutti) over and then bring Jerome over and I’m like, ‘Look at this. Wouldn’t it be great?’ I’m telling you, I think we have a great shot at getting Jerome.”