Tate Martell’s decision to decommit from Texas A&M was not much of a surprise, although the vicious fallout might have been. Yet when the nation’s top-ranked dual-threat quarterback goes from committed to uncommitted, there is an impact on the quarterback class.
Where Martell lands – and when – is bound to affect other members of the Class of 2017.
Martell was not the only quarterback recruit making news in the last week: Ryan Kelley from Basha in Arizona decommitted from Oregon and committed to Arizona State and Lowell Narcisse opted to stay in state at LSU.
While it is still a long way from now until National Signing Day in February and more decommits abound, quarterbacks are always among the first to commit and often serve as ambassadors to urge other players to follow them. Many quarterbacks also are early enrollees and head to campus to take part in spring practice so their decisions come earlier.
Among the top 20 pro-style quarterbacks in the 247Sports Composite rankings, only one is uncommitted – No. 14 Jack Spears from San Clemente, Calif. Among dual threat quarterbacks, four among the top 15 and seven among the top 20 are uncommitted.
Consider that 36 of the 63 schools in the Power 5 conferences already have a quarterback commit and programs such as Clemson, Miami, LSU and Kentucky have two. In the Big Ten, only Indiana, Iowa and Illinois don’t have a QB commit and in the Big 12, only West Virginia and Kansas are without.
“It’s not the strongest quarterback class we’ve seen, but it’s not weakest either,” ESPN national recruiting analyst Craig Haubert said. “It’s an eclectic group that’s more middle of the pack; a good, solid bunch of players.
“It also has balance between pocket passers and dual threat. The last few years, they were all in one or the other group. When we say that, dual threat quarterback doesn’t mean the player is incapable of throwing and pocket passer doesn’t mean he’s a statue but more set into that type of system. This year, it’s a good group of both.”
Without Martell, there is a spot open at Texas A&M. But his situation also impacts Ohio State, which many views as the favorite to land him, and Southern California among others. Martell tweeted Monday night that he has added offers from West Virginia, Pittsburgh and North Carolina.
Ohio State has the top-ranked class thus far for 2017 and among that group is quarterback Danny Hoban from Archbishop Hoban (Akron). Hoban committed to the Buckeyes in December 2013 and has been unfazed by the Buckeyes’ dalliance with Martell that has been going on since long before he decommitted.
Clark said the Ohio State coaches told him that they would look at a “couple of guys” in 2017 and 2018, although he remains unfazed.
“Urban Meyer explained it to me. It’s a business, you know what I mean? It’s a business,” Clark told Cleveland.com last month. “If he feels the need to. They have to be balanced on all points of the game, and I am not worried about competition. I honestly don’t care who they bring in, I’m going to win.”
Ohio State also has shown interest in Baylor commit Kellen Mond, the No. 4 dual-threat recruit who plays for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Mond is originally from Texas.
As for USC, the Trojans have their eyes on Sears, but interest in him is picking up in a big way. Sears has 20 offers, including one from USC late last week.
Other than Martell, the top-ranked uncommitted quarterback is Brandon Burmeister from La Jolla, Calif. He is No. 9 in the 247Sports Composite.
Burmeister has 12 reported offers and this could come down to Washington or Arizona and potentially Utah. He visited Washington in early April and raved about the experience. Coaches from a number of other programs have been stopping by La Jolla Country Day to visit, though.
He recently told 247Sports that he is in no rush to commit.
“I don’t want to put a timeline on my decision because that just puts outside pressure on me — so I want people to understand that, when my heart tells me it’s the right thing to do, I’m going to make my commitment,” he told 247Sports.
Also expect Oregon to make a run at Martell, Sears and Burmeister in hopes of keeping one of them on the West Coast.