USC doing well with Martell

FONTANA, Calif. — With Santa Margarita quarterback K.J. Costello committing to Stanford last week, quarterback recruiting for the next class became a hot button topic among Trojan fans.

Las Vegas (Nev.) sophomore quarterback Tate Martell is a prospect whose name comes up often in conversation among recruitniks.

Martell, who recently unofficially visited USC this month, was committed to Steve Sarkisian more than a year ago as a Husky, but he has taken recruiting slowly since de-committing after the coaching change at Washington.

“I went down to USC a few weeks back to see the school,” said Martell. “I actually met up with one of the assistant recruiting directors, who is just like a freshman at the school. He saw me walking around by myself and asked if I’d like to go through the normal tour.

“He took me through all of the buildings and everything, so it was really cool. I have never seen the weight room and facilities before. I’ve been on campus, but that was the first time seeing it all and it was really nice.”

Although assistant coach Peter Sirmon recruits Las Vegas for USC, Martell’s relationship with Sarkisian supersedes the normal protocols of recruiting.

“Almost every time I talk to USC Coach Sark gets on the phone,” said Martell. “I talk to Coach (Clay) Helton too, I have a really good relationship with Sark.

“USC is still and option for me now that K.J. Costello isn’t going there, so that’s something I’m considering.”

While USC may still take a quarterback in the 2016 class, Martell is confident that he can interject a unique skill set into the quarterback position.

“I saw what Sark was trying to do at Washington with Keith Price,” said Martell. “He was a pretty good runner, but he wasn’t a real dual-threat. He was more of a pocket type of passer.”

As Martell displayed Sunday at the Passing Down Tournament, scrambling and making plays with his legs are just one aspect of what makes the 5-foot-10, 175-pound signal caller a menace for defenses.

Martell may not be 6-foot-4, but he has a big enough arm to make all of the throws necessary to play in a pro-style offense. But Martell’s physical abilities are overshadowed in seven-on-seven by his mental capacity for calling plays and coordinating the 702 Elite team’s offense.

“I mad e play sheet last year for my seven-on-seven team, but we didn't use it,” said Martell. “This year I decided to use it, so I made all of the wrist bands for the players and play sheets for the coaches.

“I have all of the routes and calls I want against whatever coverage the defense shows on my wrist band. I call the play and read my keys at the line. It’s not really something we use at Gorman, but it’s worked well here.

“I’ve gotten a lot smarter as a player being at Bishop Gorman. I know what to call and how to take advantage of a defense. I know exactly every play I’m going to call when I get to the line and how to get my receivers in the right position to take advantage of whatever coverage the defense shows. We had four drives and four touchdowns our first game, so I’m doing okay as the O.C.”

As Martell begins to focus less on seven-on-seven and more on spring football at Bishop Gorman in April, he expects recruiting to pick up as college coaches make their way to campus.

“We just went on spring break, so in a couple of weeks schools will start coming through to see me,” said Martell. “That’s when things will get in full swing. Then we go up to Utah State for spring football, which is sort of a team bonding thing. We have two days where we practice three times a day, so it’s something you just grind through with your teammates.”

USCFootball.com Top Stories