Ryan Donnelly/Land of 10
Tate Martell is a legitimate option in Ohio State's quarterback battle.

Ohio State football: Any chance Tate Martell wins starting QB job?

Austin Ward

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There’s no question that Tate Martell has been more than just a bystander during Ohio State’s fascinating spring quarterback battle. And just like the end of last season when his dual-threat abilities were turning heads on the scout team, the Buckeyes are raving about his athleticism, maturity and ability to impact the game. But has that actually done much to improve his chances of winning the starting job this season coming off his redshirt year?

Martell always was the longest shot of the bunch, thanks in part to his lack of experience compared to Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow. But it’s not as much of a stretch to picture him at the top of the depth chart in September as it was a month ago, so in that respect Martell has changed the odds, thanks to his work on the practice field. But the likely reality is that he’s still running third, which shouldn’t be viewed as a negative regardless of the hype that has swirled around him dating back to his high-profile recruitment.

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Tate Martell figures to be involved in Ohio State’s offense in some capacity this season. (Ryan Donnelly/Land of 10)

For starters, Haskins and Burrow were coveted quarterbacks as well and have more than enough ability to lead the Buckeyes back to the College Football Playoff. Martell is a competitor and was well aware when he signed with Ohio State just how challenging it can be to claim the most prominent position in a powerhouse program. Haskins and Burrow have had to wait for their turns as well, and quarterback is a spot where it can be beneficial not to be rushed into action.

But the real reasons why Martell shouldn’t stress about potentially being No. 3 right now? He’s almost certainly going to be involved in the offense in some role this season, whether it’s in a special package of plays at quarterback or something more exotic lined up as a running back or wide receiver. Urban Meyer clearly wants to get that dynamic ability on the field, which should be an encouraging sign for Martell. Add in the fact that there’s the possibility of one of the other quarterbacks transferring and Martell could wind up as no worse than the backup.

Ohio State obviously is hoping to avoid losing any of its quarterbacks in the offseason, and it’s one program that definitely doesn’t need a reminder of the value of having three talented guys in the same room. From that bunch, Haskins is still the odds-on favorite with Burrow not far behind. But Martell is a legitimate contender, and he’s no dark horse anymore.

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