Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez announced Thursday that he is leaving Nebraska and entering the transfer portal. A starter of the better part of the last four years, Martinez is a fascinating figure in Cornhuskers football during the Scott Frost era.
“The University of Nebraska will always be a place I can call home,” he wrote. “It has been an honor and a privilege to represent the N for four years. I want to thank coach [Scott] Frost, [quarterbacks coach Mario] Verduzco and the rest of the staff for giving me a great opportunity to play for such a great University. Thank you to my teammates and lifelong friends for making my time here special. Thank you to the people of Nebraska for your continued support throughout my journey.”
Martinez threw for 8,495 yards, 45 touchdowns, 30 interceptions, 2,288 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns during his four years in Lincoln. He was the starting quarterback as a true freshman and, after 2,617 passing yards and 629 rushing yards, entered the 2019 season in the top 10 of the preseason Heisman Trophy odds. He was benched after ineffectiveness late in that season, but started the majority of Nebraska’s games over the last two years.
A shoulder injury ended Martinez’s regular season before the Iowa game, and freshman Logan Smothers performed well in his first start even though Iowa stormed back for the 28-21 win.
Martinez came to Nebraska as Frost’s prized recruit in his first recruiting class. The former four-star prospect was ranked No. 139 overall in the 2018 Class and the signal-caller Frost targeted as soon as he took over the program from Mike Riley.
The news that Martinez is transferring is interesting considering the timing of the decision. Athletic director Trev Alberts made the decision to retain Frost this offseason despite three-win seasons in each of the last two years, and an overall record of 15-29. Frost came to his alma mater from UCF, where he polished off a 12-0 season in 2017 under quarterback McKenzie Milton. Martinez and Milton are similar in that they were billed as consistent passers who are dynamic in the running game, but Martinez hasn’t been able to progress from his success as a freshman.
Martinez will be a “super senior” with one year of eligibility remaining during the 2022 season.