Tate Martell, who lost his bid to be the University of Miami’s starting quarterback, on Friday was given an opportunity to play wide receiver, according to a person with direct knowledge.
Martell, a skilled runner, took snaps at receiver during the Hurricanes’ closed scrimmage, and some internally believe he has the athletic skills to transition to that position.
But it’s undetermined if Martell will remain at quarterback or switch to receiver. UM did not offer any details about Friday’s scrimmage and declined to offer any clarity on Martell’s position this season.
Even if Martell moves to receiver, it’s questionable whether he would get meaningful playing time because wide receiver might be UM’s deepest position, along with defensive end.
K.J. Osborn and Jeff Thomas are essentially assured of two spots in the receiver rotation, and Mike Harley, Mark Pope, Brian Hightower, Dee Wiggins, Jeremiah Payton and long shot Evidence Njoku have been competing for three other spots. Offensive coordinator Dan Enos spoke in the spring of having five players in the receiver rotation.
Several college quarterbacks have made a successful transition to receiver. Among the best to do it: Julian Edelman, who was a college quarterback at Kent State but transitioned to receiver with the New England Patriots. Edelman has 499 receptions and 30 touchdowns in eight seasons.
Martell has been competing with N’Kosi Perry for the backup quarterback job behind starter Jarren Williams. Coach Manny Diaz said on Tuesday that race was tight.
If Martell moves to receiver, he could always move back to quarterback if Williams and Perry are injured or ineffective over an extended period. Freshman Payton Matocha is the team’s fourth scholarship quarterback.
As a senior at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, Martell was named Gatorade Player of the Year after leading his team to a 15–0 record, while passing for 2,362 yards and 41 touchdowns, and rushing for 1,253 yards and 21 touchdowns. For his career, he went 45–0 as a starter and finished second in Nevada history with 7,510 passing yards and 113 touchdowns.
Rivals.com rated him the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the 2017 class.
He redshirted at Ohio State, then was used as a backup and in goal-line packages with the Buckeyes last season, finishing with 22 carries for 128 yards (5.8 per carry) and 23 for 28 for 269 yards through the air, mostly late in blowouts.
He transferred from Ohio State after Georgia quarterback Justin Fields transferred to the Buckeyes.
Martell’s accuracy was inconsistent since transferring to UM, but Canes coaches say he showed improvement in that area and displayed toughness, mobility and the ability, at times, to escape a pass rush and gain yardage.