As the entire fan base awaits a final decision on Tate Martell’s eligibility, there must be an understanding that football will be played come late August. Whether that game is played on the 24th or the 31st is still uncertain.
All eyes are going to be on the quarterback situation. If Martell is eligible, as rumors have suggested, then many are automatically pegging him as our starter.
Not a single human being outside of their building has seen him throw a pass to a Miami Hurricane receiver. All we know about Martell is that he was highly ranked out of high school, he played well when his number was called at Ohio State, and now he’s at Miami fighting or a chance to play.
I don't want to be misunderstood here. I would love to see Martell play as much as anybody, but I want to watch him play if he's earned that opportunity. N’Kosi Perry walked through more valley’s than hills climbed in 2018, but he hasn't had a legitimate position coach in his college career.
Dan Enos has worked with and developed some great college quarterbacks and built some potent offenses.
Brandon Allen became Arkansas’ all-time leading passer under Enos, who was the teams offensive coordinator, in 2015 and finished his senior year with 3,440 yards and 30 touchdowns. The Razorbacks also averaged 34.4 points per game in conference play that year, leading the SEC, and scored 50 or more points four times, which broke a school record.
Austin Allen was the next quarterback in line and he hardly skipped a beat following his older brothers graduation. In his first year under Enos, Allen led the SEC with 3,430 passing yards and finished second in the conference with 25 touchdown passes.
His work didn't end at the quarterback position though. Running back Rawleigh Williams became a first-team All-SEC selection in his first year as a starter in Enos’ offense in 2016. Williams led the SEC with 1,360 yards rushing yards.
At Alabama, his work speaks for itself. Both Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa credit Enos greatly in their development, as he worked directly with two of the best quarterbacks college football has to offer. Alabama’s offense was the nations sixth ranked offense that averaged 522 yards per game and 7.76 yards per play.
Coaching makes a difference and although I am understanding of those critical of Perry, there is no doubting the natural talent he has. If anybody is going to bring out the best in him, it’s Dan Enos.
Jarren Williams shouldn’t be counted out either. He was considering transferring and chose to stay. That says something about the confidence he has in himself to make some noise in this quarterback race. And at the end of the day, the competition is what's going to set them apart.
The stars on 247 or Rivals don't matter. Who they were in 2018 won't matter. What is going to matter is who is going to show up every day to Greentree and show that they can help change the direction of this program.
Would I be surprised if Martell came out victorious when it’s all said and done? Absolutely not.
Would I be shocked to see Perry put it all together and flat out win this thing? Not even a little.
Could Jarren Williams be the guy that takes over this program and leads us for the next three to four years and provide some consistency at the position? It is certainly possible.
And would the ground fall from beneath us and end our season before it even began if Martell was deemed ineligible? No, it wouldn't.
Enos has done much more with much less talent than what's in our locker room right now. If his offense averaged over 50 points a game in the SEC, imagine the possibilities in a weak ACC Coastal with the abundance of pure talent at his disposal at Miami.
While I hope Martell is eligible and everybody gets after it when spring ball starts in a couple of weeks, it wouldn't be the end of the world if he wasn't.
Good, old-fashioned competition is what has been lacking in the quarterback room for years now and it’s time for the quarterbacks to feel the pressure day-in and day-out to be their best every single time they step out onto the field.
May the best man win.