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Martell was a four-star prospect coming out of Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School two years ago, ranked the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the country (behind current Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa) according to the 247Sports Composite.
He served as Dwayne Haskins’ backup last season when he completed 23 of 28 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
With Haskins' deciding to go pro early, Martell appeared to be in line to start this fall, but new head coach Ryan Day has brought in transfer Justin Fields to compete for the job.
Fields, who was the No. 2 quarterback recruit in the country for the 2018 class, started class this week but is still waiting to find out if he will be eligible to play this fall.
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Tom Mars, an attorney representing Fields, told Cox Media Group Ohio “this is crunch time’ in the process” of trying to obtain a waiver for the rule that forces transfers to spend a year in residence before taking the field at their new school.
Mars, who has represented multiple players in such cases including Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson, has indicated a decision on Fields' status could come next month.
Ohio State has two other scholarship quarterbacks on the roster: Redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin and senior Chris Chugunov, who transferred from West Virginia last year.
Martell’s apparent decision to at least explore his options comes less than two weeks after he told reporters at the Rose Bowl he would be the starter this fall if Haskins decided to turn pro.
He also downplayed the potential impact of the arrival of Fields, who at that time was still officially a member of the Georgia football team but had been the subject of rumors he was considering a move north.
“Why would I leave for someone who hasn’t put a single second into this program yet?” Martell said in California. “I’ve put two years of working my ass off for something that I’ve been waiting for and dreaming of having my whole life.”