For the past three years, college football fans have gotten to see flashes of what Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez is capable of. His athleticism cannot be denied and when he has the football in his hands and he decides to tuck it and run, it’s as dynamic a play as any quarterback in the country can make. Where his game has fallen short from putting him among the very elite in the country is his throwing. But in 2012 we got a taste of what could be a Heisman Trophy type of year in 2013.
His 2012 campaign was beyond impressive. No one should be shocked that he rushed for 1,019 yards and 10 touchdowns with a 5.2 yards per carry average. These are the kind of things we have come to expect from Martinez. He’s fast and decisive in the run game and a threat to break a long touchdown on every carry. But what couldn’t have been predicted was that Martinez would also chip in 2,817 yards passing and 23 touchdowns with a 62% completion rate; the first time over 60% in his career.
Taking that into consideration along with the fact that this team on offense is going to be much faster and more athletic all over the field, you can see why it’s not hard to include Martinez among the pre-season favorites for the Heisman. The Cornhuskers are going to be in the thick of a Big Ten conference title, and have a schedule that lines itself up for a very fast start for Martinez and should have his Heisman bandwagon full by the time he and his team travel to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines in early November. Win that game and all eyes will be on Martinez and one would hope that the Cornhuskers would be promoting him heavily by this time. Just no pretend girlfriends, okay?
Just like last year when Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel threw his talented team on his back and his teammates accepted their roles in the offense, as complementary players, the same thing could easily happen at Nebraska. Martinez has all the talent in the world and just needs some signature type wins like that road game in Michigan to show the rest of the country he’s Heisman worthy.