He starts classes at Nebraska on Monday, but Adrian Martinez had to say goodbye to most of his family and friends before the new year. The 4-star quarterback prospect had a detour to make on his way to Lincoln: to Orlando, Fla., to represent the Huskers’ recruiting class as its lone participant in the Under Armour All-America Game.
After a week of practice in advance of the Thursday night showcase game, Martinez will make the move to Lincoln on Friday. The early enrollee didn’t always know where this recruiting process would lead him, but he said realized Nebraska was the place for him.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything better. It lined up so perfectly for me,” Martinez told Land of 10. “Great fit schematically with the coaches and people and everything. I wasn’t sure where I was going to end up. I didn’t know that it would be Nebraska. But I am glad it is.”
And in just a few days, he will be a full-time student-athlete, leaving the “recruit” and “prospect” tags in the past.
But before that, he practiced and performed alongside the nation’s most talented players in the 2018 class this week. Martinez held his own and even outshone some of the other players. During practice this week, there was a report seemingly every day that Martinez looked the sharpest among the quarterbacks, despite him not being the most highly ranked signal caller showcasing his skills.
He backed up the praise Thursday night during the game, which was the first time he faced game competition in more than a year; a throwing-shoulder injury that cost him his senior season in high school has healed. His team went three-and-out on the first series he led, but Martinez rebounded. He led a touchdown drive, capped by a 14-yard screen pass to Penn State signee Ricky Slade Jr., and finished 3-for-8 passing for 28 yards. Martinez also demonstrated how he can use his legs to his advantage, scrambling for an 18-yard gain on the scoring drive.
The competition clearly did not faze Martinez, who will have an opportunity to compete for the starting job with the Huskers. Enrolling early was always part of the plan for him because of his desire to make an immediate impact.
“Obviously, that’s ideal for me,” Martinez said. “I’m just gonna go dive in and work as hard as I possibly can, and try and get that starting position.”
What’s even better for Martinez, he said, is the coach and staff he gets to play under.
“Coach Frost took an 0-12 team [and] turned them to 12-0 [regular seaason] in a couple years,” Martinez said. “His work that he’s done there proves how good of a coach he is. And the thing is he’s an even better person. I’m really looking forward to playing for him.”
Land of 10’s Tyler Donohue contributed reporting from Orlando, Fla.