Tate martell
Photo Credit: Tate Martell

FSM Exclusive: 1 on 1 with Tate Martell

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One of the most polarizing football recruits in recent memory is Tate Martell. The former Bishop Gorman quarterback, who once played for Ohio State and most recently the University of Miami, is in the transfer portal and looking to settle at a new home in the upcoming weeks.

 

Tate Martell
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

On Tuesday, June 1st, I sat down with Tate Martell at The Institute of Human Performance for an exclusive 1-on-1 interview. Martell is training and working out there under the guidance of Sean Manuel, who is the Institute’s Director of Human Performance and is the former strength and conditioning coach at both UNLV and Bishop Gorman, where Martell attended. I have gotten to know Tate well over the past half-year, and by doing so, I have gained intimate knowledge of what he has been through, what he has overcome, and what he still is working on.

Some will look at Martell as an arrogant, spoiled player who transferred to Miami after not wanting to compete with Justin Fields once Fields transferred into the Buckeyes program from Georgia. Some will look at Martell as a guy who was a high school legend but failed at the collegiate level. And some may look at him as a guy that has had to face adversity on and off the field his entire life and is showing a newfound maturity with an attitude that makes him the ultimate winner. But those closest to Tate (and Martell himself) will tell you that he is a young man who has learned from his past and views it as something that has made him the man he is today and is still becoming.

The Tate Martell story has many twists and turns, but watching him over the course of the past 6 months, I have seen a young man who is as dialed in as anyone and ready to resurrect his career. He works out daily – sometimes three or four times a day. He meets with Manuel throughout the week and has a clear and focused mind with one goal: To get on the field and win games! He keeps up with the schools he is interested in by going over their schedules and depth charts. He has certain games circled and is passionate about what he feels he can do on the field for the school that is willing to take a chance on him.

But is it really taking a chance? He has never been in trouble off the field, nor has he been labeled a bad teammate or uncoachable. It’s actually quite the opposite. Martell is beloved by his teammates (both current and former), and coaches have never questioned his work ethic, drive, leadership, or competitive nature. The negative reputation and perception come from social media interactions and posts he made as a teenager or things he did when he was a senior in high school being filmed for a docuseries. Are we REALLY going to rip a kid who was arguably the best player in the country, quarterbacking the “it” team to play High School football for in the country? He was a rock star on and off the field. So, of course, he was feeling himself. Anyone would if they were in that position.

Full disclosure, Tate and I have been talking since around the time he arrived back home in Las Vegas. I have gotten to know the person who is driven to be the best and has one of the most competitive personalities I have ever been around. Martell is a new man, not the teenager that I mentioned above. He’s RIPPED and ready to go. So get to know the real, the new and improved, Tate Martell.

 

Here is my exclusive interview with Tate Martell.

 

Tate Martell
Photo Credit- USA Today

Joe: Coming out of high school, you were all-everything for high school football quarterbacks. You had three straight national championships at the high school level, the National Gatorade Player of the Year, the most visible high school quarterback on the face of the planet. What pressure did you feel with that?

Tate: “You know, you had some, and I mean, it was more like an expectation that I better come in and do something right away. At that time, it’s like, I’m going to Ohio State! I went there because I had a great relationship with (then) Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, and it was my dream school growing up. When I was there, I just wanted to go play and contribute. That’s all I ever wanted to do was just help, to be a reason for a win, and that’s kind of been my mentality everywhere I played at every level. I just want to win games with my teammates.

But you know, thinking back, it does put a lot of pressure on you when you’ve been at a certain level and everyone expects a certain thing out of you every single time. Then when something doesn’t go your way, you’re like, what am I not doing? What’s not right? Instead of being able to just focus on really getting better, it’s like you focus on what am I not doing and how am I gonna try to go get this (starting job) instead of just getting better. I think that has set me back a lot, for example, not being able to better myself every day and focus on what was going on every day.”

 

Joe: Did you feel like during the recruiting process that you had the weight of the world on your shoulders considering almost every college offered you and where you chose to go to school affected where other guys decided to go to college and play?

Tate: “Yeah, I mean, it wasn’t so much like a pressure thing. I was in high school, and I just kind of handled things the way I wanted, so I didn’t think about it too much. It was easy. Looking back at it, I probably should’ve just taken more visits and listened slightly better to certain people in those kinds of ways, but I don’t regret all that stuff because, you know, I learned from it, and they are making me a better man.”

 

Joe: Do you regret some of the things you did, like the social media drama and the QB-1 stuff?

Tate: “I mean, you can say you regret it, but it’s also a life lesson. Like we’ve talked about privately, the things that I’ve been through these past four years have been very difficult to go through, just the ups and downs; it’s been a lot. But without those four years of going through what I’ve been going through, there is no way that I’d be in this position right now, to be the best I’ve been at any point in college, from a maturing to growing up aspect. If I would’ve had a storybook high school and college career and went right to the NFL, I probably would’ve faced these problems in the NFL. I’m glad that I went through the things that I went through because I am so much stronger mentally. It’s been a long four years, you know, it really took all that to get the best version of me and to go get what I want. It’s all worth it for me. So do I regret anything? I don’t really regret anything. Yes, some of it was stupid, but I can’t say that I regret it because without it I wouldn’t have learned and grown up from it.”

 

Tate Martell
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Joe: You were in a hell of a quarterback room at Ohio State with JT Barrett, Joe Burrow, and Dwayne Haskins. You were in there competing with them. What was that experience like, and what did you learn from it?

Tate: “It was unreal. It was competitive every day, but we all cheered for each other. I learned how to work from those guys literally from the first day I walked in there. It wasn’t easy, by any means, being a freshman in that quarterback room with those kinds of guys. You know, the caliber of guys in the QB room, and they want me to be at their standard every single day, so every day they brought, and I had to learn how to bring it just like that. And that’s where I got it from before I left. The standard of the quarterback room, what was expected on daily basis — that’s one thing that I’m very appreciative of while being at Ohio State was the mind state in a program like that. You’re born with a standard, as in what it takes to win games and you know what you need to be doing on a daily basis for the team to be a winning program.

A lot of guys don’t get that experience. A lot of guys you can still see still in the same place. There are some guys that I’ve been around that I’ve passed on a maturity basis. Some guys don’t know what to do to accomplish their goals. They have to try and figure out, “What do I need to do to accomplish my goals on a daily basis and to go get what I want?” Maybe sometimes it’s been a little bit easier for him. I understand I didn’t have any adversity back in the day. I had a lot of those days where everything was easy, but I also know now I have to protect myself at all costs because I know what I had to go through on a daily basis to get to where I’m at right now.”

 

Joe: Where are you now?

Tate: “Where I am at right now, Joe, you know bro, I’m so appreciative for what I’ve been through because I don’t think there’s anything that can break me anymore. My mindset on a daily basis is to work and go see what I can accomplish and who can I become. It’s not what can I post on Instagram or Twitter. I don’t even give a damn what I post on Instagram or Twitter. Honestly, all I have been posting on social media is just to let every know that I’m still up and I’m working. I will change my story. I already have actually, and honestly, who I’m becoming is not for anybody besides myself and the next team I am playing for. I know who I am now, and on my next team, they will have a completely different person with a new mentality and a better quarterback all the way around. I am ready to go compete and win.”

 

Tate Martell
Photo Credit: 24/7 Sports

Joe: When you transferred to Miami, you had a couple of familiar faces in Bubba Bolden and Brevin Jordan, but you also dealt with adversity there, too. You switched to wide receiver to get on the field, but they still kept coming back to you as a QB, which speaks to your character as well as your competitiveness. What did you learn from your time at Miami?

Tate: “I’ve always been a guy that just wants to win. My freshman year at Ohio St., Coach Meyer almost burned my redshirt so I could return punts. I was like, ‘HELL YEAH! Let’s do it. I don’t give a damn! I’ll do it if the team needs me, Coach. I just want to win games!’ I’ve always been that guy, I’ll do what I have to do to help my team win, and I knew that my skill set could go help somewhere on the field (at Miami), and I know that if you get the ball in my hands, I can make stuff happen. I just wanted to help win. I was upset that I lost the starting job there, but I didn’t give a damn about anything else other than winning.”

“I love working my ass off in the weight room. I do it every day. That’s why all my teammates know how much I love football and all that comes with it. They respect me, I respect them, and let’s go out there and win some damn ball games. I think about all those days… my teammates and me working our asses off. Why would I let it go to waste by dicking around in the weight room, on the practice field, or the positional group room and not do everything I can to help the team win?

When I opted out last year, I was at rock bottom. I was getting depressed; I was struggling, like overall. I kept asking myself, ‘What am I doing right now? What’s going on with you? I love football, but do I still want to play?’ Then one day, a couple of weeks later, it all clicked, and I was like, ‘I have to get home to Las Vegas,’ so I booked a flight for the next day. I took a week to clear my mind and reflect on what I had been through the last four years and called up Coach Manny and started to come here to The Institute of Human Performance.”

 

Tate Martell
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

“Then I started working out here and hooked up with my new quarterback coach Drew Aumavae (Elite 11 QB coach). Man, I literally have a coach for everything now. I have a life coach, quarterback coach, footwork, and I said, ‘How good can I get myself? How can I be the best me and maximize myself?’ So I blew up everything, and I have been absorbing all the coaching I can and try to reset myself the best way I can. What do I need to do to change? Well, working with coach Drew, I completely changed my throwing motion, and that took me about a month before I felt comfortable with it, but now it feels natural. It also has allowed me to be more accurate, like if I throw a pass and it’s just off their fingertips, I know exactly what I did wrong and correct it, and the next ball is perfect.

These changes have given me new confidence in myself. Part of it is because of what I have been through over the past four years; it has given me thicker skin and shown me I can overcome adversity as long as I put in the hard work to beat it. I attack each day, trying to win every moment. I’ve been training for six or seven months while guys were finishing their seasons. Where I am right now is I am chomping at the bit to get back on the field and win games.”

 

Joe: People that don’t know you have a different perception of you. I had one until I really got to know you, and I was up front with you about that from Day 1. But once you let people in, we see a different side of you. As for your teammates, they all love you. They see you for who you are. How good of a feeling is that for you?

Tate: “It’s a good feeling, but that’s just me being me, though. Like, my teammates love me because I am always there for them. If they need me, all they have to do is call me. I work my ass off, and I give them everything I have, and they see that. I’ve never been a guy that’s selfish. Me leaving because I wanted to play was not selfish. Every person wants to get on the field. And sometimes, when you don’t see how it is going to play out for yourself, you have to make a decision for yourself at some point.

Leaving and transferring had nothing to do with my team, or not loving my teammates or wanting to work with them. I had to do what I thought was best for me. Honestly, I really rushed my decision (when I decided to transfer to Miami). I had (about) three days to make a decision, and it ended up backfiring, but you know, I had to go through that to become a better quarterback.”

 

Joe: It seems to me that you’ve become a more complete person.

Tate: “I completely agree. I’ve had to sit and reflect on what I have been through, and I’ve learned A LOT of life lessons, like what actually matters, you know? Being a good person, not just worrying about what I’m doing but what’s going on with everyone else. Basically, being more considerate of others and what they are going through and how I can make a good impact on them.

I’ve given everything I have over these last six or seven months. I’ve been grinding like I never have in every aspect of my life to better myself.”

 

Joe: Once you got back home, was there a moment that made you say ” F**k it, let’s get back to it?”

Tate: “Honestly, just watching football and missing it. I would think to myself, ‘What are you doing?’ knowing what I am capable of and knowing I would be leaving an opportunity on the field and that I have an opportunity now with it being a COVID season that allows me to have 2 years of playing time. I was lucky to be able to go home and reset myself and go change it with everything that I have.”

 

Joe: Where have you seen the most growth in Tate Martell?

Tate: “In every area of life. I was at Steve Clarkson’s quarterback retreat in California this past weekend and just being able to tell my story to Steve Clarkson, Jim Nagy, Matt Lienart, and Jordan Palmer and to have their faces light up because they could see that I am back and to have my energy back, they were happy for me. I was in a bad place. People knew that but I had to go get it and want to change things. I want to change my story. I needed to change things in my life to see what really matters. There is a lot of bullshit that goes on outside, and you need to figure out how to shut it out. How do you eliminate that to put yourself in a better position and protect yourself?

I have had a lot of external things that have brought me down, and I never put myself in the bubble. I always tried to solve them, like every situation, whether I should or not, because that’s just the person that I am. Sometimes it brought me down, but I’ve had to put myself in that bubble and know that if it gets too close, I have to push those people or things away because I have to protect what I want, what I am going to get, and myself. Being around all the guys this weekend was great. Talking to Jim Nagy, who runs the Reese’s Senior Bowl and was a former NFL GM, and having him tell me he’s been watching my videos and seeing my improvement and hearing his side of things and his perspective really was cool, and I greatly appreciated it. Hearing that type of validation, it was reassuring that I am on the right path.

I stepped away and I haven’t been talking to many people because I don’t want to talk anymore, you know? There is no reason for me to talk because I am putting the work in. I don’t have to tell anyone that I am doing it because I know I am doing it myself and I know who I am becoming.”

 

Joe: The growth of you as a person is enormous. I think anyone who reads this can see that. But on the field, your growth as a quarterback, mechanically, has been just as big. Coach Drew has done a fantastic job working with you and helping you get better.

Tate: “Man, Joe, I feel like I owe him (Coach Drew) a whole…I don’t even know how to put it. He is the best. Coach Drew has made me a better quarterback, and he’s taught me so much. I’m more than a guy who can run; my arm is stronger, more accurate, and I understand how to play the position better after working with him.”

 

Joe: What does 23-year-old Tate tell 19-year-old Tate?

Tate: (a long pause and a deep breath)… “slow down. Slow it down. Really, if I could do it all over, I really wish I wouldn’t have gotten caught up in all the bullshit. You know, the stuff that doesn’t matter. I really would have liked to go take all my visits and really get to know people. There are some really good people out there, you know, and those are the types of people you want in your corner. Coaches and quarterbacks found their little pair that works; I think those are the guys that succeed because they have that relationship and bond that is a perfect match.

For me, my match was more with Coach Meyer than it was Coach Day. So when he left, it was very hard for me. I couldn’t even go to the team meeting because I was in the quarterback room crying my eyes out. I was a mess. I couldn’t even hold myself together to hear him tell me that he was leaving because that’s the kind of connection I had with him.”

 

Tate Martell
Photo Credit: Jay Laprete/AP

Joe: Was he (Coach Meyer) like a father figure to you?

Tate: “NO DOUBT! I mean, I went through some really hard times when I first got to Ohio St., and he saw how I turned myself around and became a leader on that team going into my sophomore year. He was always there as my mentor, and coach, and a father for me while I was in Ohio. We still text each other to this day, so when he left, it was a difficult move for me. Joe, I honestly didn’t want to leave Ohio St. Those were my boys – still are my boys. My classmates and I are still tight and talk to this day. We were doing stuff every day. Our class was tight, and we had really good chemistry. It was tough to leave them and to watch Coach Meyer leave before I got my chance.”

 

Joe: What specifically are you looking for in your next school since that decision is going to come up in the next few weeks?

Tate: “There has to be a certain culture in a program, or the culture has to be in the process of being built. Not just any culture, a culture of winning, structure, and accountability. It’s not that you have to win every game because, in many cases, that won’t happen, but what the player is doing and the coaches are doing. There has to be a culture set in that program that is in the direction of winning. Every day we have to focus on getting better, not the outside bullshit. Being at Ohio St. I know that the way that place was run, there is a set culture and standard that won’t change. Nothing and no one is going to come in and change that culture, and that’s why they are successful.

They can bring in anyone who is talented, and you either buy into that culture or you’re gone. That culture that they have set there is the reason why they win games. It’s a difficult place to be; it’s not for everybody there. You have to hold yourself to a higher standard, and your coaches have to hold you to a higher standard. For example, is everybody working towards their common goal of winning? Not because I want to be an All-Conference guy, or just individual goals, because those are the teams and guys that don’t win games. I promise you that. I saw it first hand. If the guys focus on winning every day, those accolades come.

I always felt like the things that you go through as a team, winning games with your boys is the greatest feeling in the world. I swear there is nothing like it. I don’t give a damn. I have won every personal award, and they don’t mean shit to me compared to winning games with my boys! My teammates for Gorman, we can remember every single game, and I can recall plays in games, what we ran, what happened… because those were the moments that mattered the most, not the awards I got.”

 

Joe: So you are open to a school trying to build a winning culture or one without a rich football history?

Tate: “Yeah, as long as they don’t have a culture that is just do-what-you-want. Show up late to meetings, workouts, or practice. The coaches have to hold everybody accountable. There has to be a structure for the program. I promise you that is how teams lose every year. They lose games they aren’t supposed to lose and never turn it around.

 

UNLV vs Wyoming
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

Joe: What about from a coaching standpoint?

Tate: “I would like to have a coach that trusts me, and I trust them. I need him to be honest with me, hold me accountable, and want to win as bad as me. I would prefer a spread offense and put me in a good position to give our team the best chance to win. I’d like for him to take some chances on third and fourth and short. I want to have a coach that really prepares me for the game we are about to play and for games in the future. I’ve got to be prepared to go out there, and then when the game’s on the line, I want to make sure that the coaches got a situational football side on lock because, I mean, that’s a lot of what decides wins and losses. I need the coach to trust me the same way I’m going to trust him.

If the quarterback isn’t the most prepared every single game, I promise you, the team is going to see that and feel that, and how the hell are you going to win? For example, will your offensive line feel confident if your tight end is making your protection calls or yells back to the quarterback? I have seen it, and that type of shit blows me away. So trust, honesty, transparency, someone that’s prepared, and a coach who wants to win as bad as I do. That’s what I am looking for in a coach. I should be a direct extension of the coach since I am the coach on the field.”

 

Tate Martell
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Joe: The last question, do you feel you are in a better place as Tate Martell than where you were six or eight months ago?

Tate:There hasn’t been a single point in my life that can compare to where I am at right now. I think people can see that too, but for myself, I don’t care what happens on the outside anymore because I know what I am doing. I know who I am becoming. I’m no longer worried about all the words. F**k what @Joe4567 is saying.

I don’t care anymore. I don’t give a shit what they say on social media. I’m doing what I’m doing, and either you’re going to be there with me or not. If you want to be a part of it, great! If not, then get out. But don’t think you can come back when the shit turns around because it’s going to, and those people will be on the outside looking in! I’ve been working too hard to fail.

I’m so ready to go! What I mean is, I’m ready to go as a person, as a quarterback, as a teammate, and in every aspect of life. I’m doing everything I can on a daily basis to better myself and become a better person and a better player.”

 

 

 

 

While Tate is playing it close to the vest about where he will possibly be playing football the next two seasons, there are a few things you can count on. First, Martell will be coming in to compete for a starting position with a fire unlike I have seen in any player… maybe ever. Second, he is a more mature person that is determined to prove a lot of people wrong. Someone is going to hit the jackpot on an uber-competitive leader who isn’t afraid to be the alpha male on the team.

 

Tate Martell             Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell             Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell             Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell             Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell             Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell             Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell             Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell             Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell             Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell             Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell             Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell         Tate Martell             Tate Martell         Tate Martell           

– Joe Arrigo

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