We're now five months from the start of the season, and here at Your Best 11, we'll be delivering our Top 150 players in the nation. Every Monday-Friday, we'll name drop a kid that you need to know for the 2012 season. We kick it off in the Big Ten with a Nebraska Cornhusker, quarterback Taylor Martinez.
Article format: Bio info (Name, team, number, height/weight, class), strengths, weaknesses, 2012 prediction
No. 150: Taylor Martinez, No. 3, QB, Nebraska
To kick things off I don't know that Taylor Martinez will actually measure 6'1" if you put the tape to him, but I do know that the athletic quarterback from Nebraska is a heck of an athlete. He's an elite talent that could have been playing receiver, defensive back or possibly running back at the BCS level had he elected to play another position.
Talent is Martinez's biggest selling point. Just unbridled raw athleticism. The kid is fast; he has made a number of dynamic plays during his two-year career as the starter in Lincoln, Neb. Every time he has the ball in his hands, there's an opportunity for something special to happen. Running the football is when T-Magic is at his best, and there are very few quarterbacks with the skills that the kid from Corona, Calif. possesses.
To go with Martinez's speed and athleticism, there is also a toughness to the kid. He gets up off the mat in a way that teammates and fans respect. Over his career, he's taken some lumps, but more often than not, he is up, back under center and looking to make something happen for the Huskers.
Here's the reason Martinez is not higher on the list. His biggest weakness is one of the more critical jobs of a quarterback. Throwing the football is where Martinez struggles the most, and his weakness is, at times, a fatal flaw for the signal caller. It limits what the Huskers are able to do as an offense and ultimately has put a ceiling on where T-Magic can go as a player.
He has mechanical issues, and those are compounded by his decision making. Poor throws, interceptions, tosses into double coverage and taking sacks all point to this dangerous combination of two weak points in his game.
In two seasons as the starting quarterback in Lincoln, Martinez has completed more than 16 passes in exactly two football games. On the flipside, he's been below 50 percent passing five times in those same two seasons.
The good thing for Taylor Martinez this season is his offensive coordinator, Tim Beck, will be in his second year on the job, and things should get better. He still has Rex Burkhead running the football behind him, and the wide receivers are finding their way into the picture.
In addition to his teammates' and coaches' improvements, Martinez took a major step to work on his weakness this offseason. Working with Steve Calhoun is a major step towards raising his level of overall play and that's a plus for the player and the team.
In 2012, I expect a lot out of Taylor Martinez. He has the potential to be a truly dynamic player. It will require him to be sound in his fundamentals and smart in his reads, but the ability is most certainly there. I'm optimistic because as Beck goes into his second season, he will be able to better serve the junior.
With some continued work over the summer, I think this is the year T-Magic puts it all together. Folks at Nebraska are hoping the light bulb finally comes, on and I think they will get their wish as we get into 2012.