Jarren Williams will start for Miami in the season opener against Florida, meaning he won the quarterback competition against Tate Martell, the high-profile transfer from Ohio State. An elite recruit, Martell has been running his mouth since high school and in the spotlight ever since QB1 found its way to Netflix.
He’s brash, extremely talented, and now 0-for-2 in his quest to earn a starting spot. Since emerging as the No. 2-ranked dual threat quarterback in the 2017 class, Martell has seen extremely limited action; he threw all of 28 passes last year while getting some run in goal-line situations.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. It made sense that he couldn’t beat out Dwayne Haskins. Losing to Williams, who played a single game last season, is jarring. Martell got an unexpected immediate transfer waiver from the NCAA. Some argued he didn’t deserve it.
Considering the bed he’s made for himself, it’s not surprising to see that he’s taking a beating on social media. America loves a good bout of Schadenfreude. Martell is one of the top trending topics and his mentions are a dumpster fire. Any upright and lucid consumer of the news cycle in 2019 shouldn’t be surprised.
This may be the softness speaking, but: that sucks.
Yes, Martell is not a sympathetic figure. Yes, he laid the groundwork for his own train wreck and put a target on his back. That doesn’t mean you should kick him when he’s down.
The root of his transgression is wanting to play high-stakes football under center, not watch from the sidelines. It’s easy to not see things from a perceived entitled kid’s perspective, but imagine the following scenario.
All your life you’ve been incredible at one thing. Then, when the time comes to use it to springboard for a high-paying job in the NFL, everything goes off-course. You seek greener pastures but that too doesn’t immediately work out. It is tough to experience that type of athletic adversity for the first time, at this age, on this stage.
Very few people out there are rooting for him. Not to be a reactionary, but as the peanut gallery piles on, I find myself becoming one of those who are hoping he finds success. The best-laid plans can go off-track. A door can open at an unexpected time.
Injuries in football are the norm. Martell can win the backup job and lie in wait. Brighter days may, in fact, be in the future.
It just feels dark right now.