The Miami Hurricanes' 2018-19 season begins Saturday night against Florida, and Tate Martell might find himself in a different role than what he envisioned when transferring to The U from Ohio State in January.
The former 4-star quarterback was warming up at receiver, wearing gloves and running routes, according to 247Sports' Andrew Ivins. Redshirt freshman quarterback Jarren Williams won the starting job over Martell and N'Kosi Perry.
Per Ivins, Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz assured that Martell is open to the idea of playing receiver instead of quarterback. "Just like anybody else we have," Diaz said Wednesday. "Anybody will help by doing anything that's available."
Martell spent his first two collegiate seasons behind Dwayne Haskins, who departed the Buckeyes to enter the 2019 NFL draft where he was selected 15th overall by Washington. However, Martell was again pushed aside when Justin Fields transferred to Ohio State from Georgia.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald had reported on Aug. 16 that Martell "was given the opportunity to play wide receiver.
"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," Jackson wrote.
While perhaps frustrating for Martell, 247Sports director of scouting Barton Simmons disclosed on The College Football Daily podcast (h/t Ivins) that Martell could excel at receiver:
"It's just one of the many directions someone can go when they're an undersized quarterback who is also really athletic. [National recruiting analyst Greg Biggins] has seen Tate more than anybody. He was talking about how he's seen Tate running around catching passes at quarterback camps. He's got natural pass-catching ability. The ball skills are there. He is very athletic. He is sudden and has some twitch and body movement to his game. That short-area quickness was one of the best qualities he had.
"As a slot guy that could create space and get separation as a route runner, there's a lot of those guys with success in all levels of football right now. I'm not saying that's where he needs to go, but in the spectrum of options, you have to include that as one of them."
While backing up Haskins, Martell showed his ability as a dual-threat by recording 128 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns to go along with 269 passing yards and a passing touchdown last season. In Miami, the definition of what it means for him to be a dual-threat may have just shifted.
Prominent college football quarterbacks to successfully switch to wide receiver include Julian Edelman, Terrelle Pryor and Braxton Miller.
The 'Canes and the No. 8 Gators kick off at 7 p.m. ET from Orlando's Camping World Stadium.