Miami QB Tate Martell in portal: ‘This story is going to change from what it’s been’

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Susan Miller Degnan
·4 min read
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It appears quarterback Tate Martell’s football career is not over.

Martell, the 2016 Gatorade Player of the Year and former wildly popular Ohio State Buckeye before he transferred to Miami in January 2019, entered the NCAA transfer portal Wednesday. The news was first reported by 247Sports, which later reported that redshirt junior running back Robert Burns, who had only 16 carries in 2020, has also entered the portal.

Martell had opted out of the 2020 football season after the NCAA allowed it because of the coronavirus pandemic. A redshirt junior, Martell’s UM career ended with one pass completion for 7 yards in the 2019 Independence Bowl in his lone season at UM. He rushed once for 3 yards. He also had emotional struggles off the field, missing three games during separate leaves of absences.

Martell, according to his Twitter page, will be training at the Institute Human Performance Facilities in his hometown of Las Vegas, where he formerly starred at Bishop Gorman High School with current UM safety Bubba Bolden and UM’s NFL-bound tight end Brevin Jordan.

On Wednesday, Martell released a 2 minute 20 second video on Twitter accompanied by the words “this is where I’ve been...’’

“Being quarterback, there’s a huge responsibility of being that leader and that face of a team,’’ Martell begins in the video. “The reason I love it is because I feel like I was literally born to do it. I’m a natural leader. Not a day in my life that goes by that somebody will tell me, ‘Oh, he’s not a hard worker.’ Every place I’ve been nobody will ever take that away from me— that they know that I’m going to go bust my ass.

“I have made mistakes while being in football. I never learned how to really push myself until I learned that at Ohio State... I learned what the standard was for a quarterback. I had to go through what I went through these past four years,’’ Martell continued, holding back tears, “to get where I’m about to be. And the pain that it caused is my motivation every day.

“This story is going to change from what it’s been to this point. Now it’s just going to take one person believing in me. I promise it will be one of the best decisions they ever make. What I’m building right now is for that team. Everything I’m going through is for that team. I’m refining myself daily to become the person that everybody needs me to be — my family, my friends, my city, it’s all for them.’’

I got nothing to lose and everything to prove. Roll it.’’

Martell wasn’t even on the Miami depth chart when he opted out this past season, being beat by current starter D’Eriq King, backup N’Kosi Perry and freshman Tyler Van Dyke. At Ohio State, Martell went 23 of 28 for 269 yards and one touchdown and ran 22 times for 128 yards and two touchdowns as the backup to Dwayne Haskins, a Heisman Trophy finalist.

He threw for 2,362 yards and 41 touchdowns and ran for another 1,257 yards and 21 touchdowns as a Bishop Gorman senior.

How popular was Martell? He was featured on “60 Minutes” when he was 14. Then, when he played for Bishop Gorman, he was the subject of “QB1: Beyond the Lights,’’ a Netflix documentary series. He has 140,000 followers on Twitter.

Regarding Burns, he came to UM in 2017 as a Miami Gulliver Prep three-star prospect by 247Sports and Rivals, finishing with 47 career carries and excelling as a special teams player, according to coach Manny Diaz.

Burns, who has endured various injuries in his career, earned his highlight in 2019 by scoring his first and only touchdown on a 15-yard screen pass to put UM up in a game to Duke that the Canes eventually lost. That season he rushed 29 times for 116 yards, a 4-yards-per-carry average.