It seems like there’s been controversy surrounding former Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez ever since his first postgame interview following the Huskers’ 2010 win over Western Kentucky.
Since then, nearly everything the kid did over the course of his career was scrutinized. Some beefs were legitimate, some not. Critiquing his throwing motion or his choices to take off running too soon comes with the territory of being the starting quarterback, especially at Nebraska.
Prior to his junior and senior seasons, Martinez flew out to California to work with quarterback guru Steve Calhoun. Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck worked in tandem with him, forwarding Calhoun’s homework onto Martinez, who eventually looked the part of a college quarterback; maybe not the most polished ever seen, but a serviceable one. There’s something important to be taken from that effort, especially from an NFL franchise’s perspective.
Once Martinez hit upperclassman status, neither he nor Beck were content with the product he put on the field. Fans around the nation were waiting for No. 3’s next patented wounded duck to fall into an opposing defensive back’s hands.
His determination to improve and become something more than a college football punchline says something about his character. It’s easy to mope, maybe even transfer and say “haters gonna hate” while wearing earplugs on the way to the airport, but he didn’t do that.
Thanks to what was recently revealed to be a torn ligament in his left toe suffered during Nebraska’s wild 2013 season-opener against Wyoming, his senior year was cut short before we could see the entirety of his progress.
NFL scouts will certainly be keeping an eye on fellow former Huskers Quincy Enunwa and Stanley-Jean Baptiste, but getting a set of eyeballs and daily reports on Martinez would be a wise investment of resources. He’s shown that he’s willing to put in hard work. He’s no doubt continuing to do so back home in California as he heals up and prepares for Nebraska’s pro day. He’s publicly stated that he’s more than willing to change positions.
Martinez obviously isn’t going to be the next Colin Kaepernick, but his athleticism should buy him the opportunity to show NFL teams that he’s worth a shot. Surely there are plenty of franchises that could use his abilities somewhere. My advice for them, lock him up in the sixth or seventh round this May.
Worst case scenario, a team uses a late-round pick on a guy that has shown he would give it his all to continue improving and it simply doesn’t work out. Best case scenario, they look like a pack of geniuses.
T-Magic’s name will forever be etched in Nebraska lore. He’ll be around for a team willing to give him a shot to show it the reasons why beyond his speed.