Adrian Martinez hasn’t closed the door on playing his college football on the west coast, but the quarterback is most definitely taking a long look at the Tennessee Volunteers.
The Clovis West (Calif.) High School junior flew cross-country to check out life in Knoxville the weekend of April 21-23. Roughly two days around Tennessee coaches and players made the message quite clear for the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder.
“Really it’s that I’m their No. 1 guy,” Martinez told InsideTennessee, “and I’m their first-round pick and I’m the guy that they want to come in and be the face of the program, the future quarterback and come play in a system that fits me well and one that can translate to the NFL and with people that truly care about me. You know that’s the thing. I shouldn’t say I’ve seen it all, but they gave me a full plan while I’ve been here — the academic side of it and more. So it’s just…they did a very good job, they did a very good job.”
Even though he has family on this side of the country in Alpharetta, Georgia, Martinez had never been to Knoxville, let alone seen Tennessee’s facilities.
“I mean this is pretty special,” Martinez said. “I’ve heard the SEC in itself is kind of…this is how it is, which is something I’m very attracted to. You know that’s a very good trait to have. I’ve been to Oregon, obviously Cal, Fresno State, I’ve been to Arizona State, mostly west coast schools. I haven’t really gotten the chance to get out here, and I’m only visiting this school (Tennessee) on this trip. Why I’m doing that is because I value the coaches, and I made the best connection with these guys and I feel like this is the most legitimate place I would end up if it were to be so far away from home.”
Life after football is something the cerebral teenager contemplates. He fully understands his college decision is going to alter his life forever.
“I want to go into Business Finance or Business Communications,” Martinez said. “I know Tennessee is solid. I know being the quarterback here I can make good connections, and I can do well networking and things like that and obviously that’s big. At Cal, they have like the No. 2 business school in the world. So that was a big factor for me initially just knowing they have a legit program there, but I know there’s a solid one here (at Tennessee), too. I think it’s about the person and whether they commit themselves to being successful that ultimately determines that.”
Of the top 5 most attended spring finales at Tennessee, four occurred during the Butch Jones era. However, rain clouds kept a portion of the spring regulars away from the 2017 DISH Orange & White game. Nevertheless the attendance was estimated to be in the 30,000 range.
“I think it was something special just with that many people there just for a spring game,” the Fresno, California, native said. “It shows a lot. The atmosphere in itself is something that I haven’t been a part of and that’s something I value. I want to be a part of the best college football has to offer. I feel like the SEC definitely has that. That’s something I’m heavily looking at.”
Larry Scott is in his first year as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator and playcaller. However, coach Butch Jones is in his fifth year leading the Volunteers. The Scout No. 21 quarterback in the 2018 class got an idea of the philosophy.
“You know, I liked it,” Martinez said. “Going in they told me it was ‘vanilla,’ they have a lot more and obviously they don’t want to show everything that they have, but I like what they have in store, I like what they’re about offensively, and I think I would fit in and it would also do a good job in preparing me for the next level if that’s something I’m fortunate enough to do.
“Everyone I met I felt like were cool people, and they were all different but people I got along with. So it was good.”
In 2016, Martinez connected on passes for 2,484 yards with 25 touchdowns. He also ran for 1,385 yards with 16 more TDs.
Tennessee offensive coordinator Larry Scott