The Nebraska signee from Clovis West High School in Fresno, California, had more than his share of excuses while appearing in the Under Armour All-America game from Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. After missing his entire senior season recovering from shoulder surgery, the consensus four-star quarterback prospect was playing in a game for the first time in 406 days. Then consider he had just a few days of preparation with unfamiliar teammates for an all-star exhibition broadcast nationally on ESPN platforms.
Still, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Martinez, who received a scholarship offer from Frost on Dec. 2 mere hours after Nebraska hired him as coach, enjoyed some moments in the third quarter Thursday as his “Team Spotlight” — led by former NFL coach Steve Mariucci — fell to Deion Sanders and “Team Highlight” 23-21.
On fourth-and-2 from near midfield, Martinez found his receiver on a 6-yard comebacker. The NU early enrollee took the next snap 18 yards on a designated QB run. Following an incomplete deep throw, he sold a screen play and hit a running back for a 14-yard touchdown.
Martinez — who shared time with Auburn signee Joey Gatewood and Stanford signee Jack West — appeared in just one first-half series. He waited a beat too long on a slant attempt that hit the turf, then gained 2 yards on a rollout before sending the ball 35 yards downfield that a receiver dropped.
The quarterback started the second half and was caught for a 3-yard loss and later narrowly avoided a sack in the end zone before throwing the ball away. On his final series, he threw two more incompletions and also found Joshua Moore — a longtime Nebraska commit who backed off his pledge last month — for 4 yards.
Martinez drew praise from national evaluators all week for his consistency among many of the nation’s top recruits. The QB who amassed 3,869 yards and 41 TDs as a junior will be part of Nebraska’s spring practices and begin competing to earn the starting job next fall.
“Adrian was my favorite guy in the country,” Frost said when Martinez signed Dec. 20. “We didn’t think we had a chance to get him at our previous school, but now, getting to Nebraska, he was interested. He was like a lot of kids on offense are going to be when we have time to get out and share our message and our vision with them.”
» Also of note from the all-star game, NU running back target Maurice Washington scored all three touchdowns for the victors. The game’s MVP began with a 20-yard shake-and-bake score and later added a 27-yard touchdown catch before ending with a 2-yard plunge set up by his own 65-yard kickoff return.
The 6-footer from Trinity Christian School in Cedar Hill, Texas, holds offers from schools such as LSU, Ohio State, Southern California, Tennessee and Washington.
During an in-game interview, Washington said, “I’m really under the radar right now.” When the interviewer said that might not be the case anymore, the back responded, “I hope not.”
» Nebraska remains active in trying to add a fourth scholarship quarterback — someone to join Martinez, Tristan Gebbia and Patrick O’Brien — after Tanner Lee declared for the NFL draft. The Huskers have sent out at least three offers in the past week to dual threats Jamarye Joiner, Matthew Tago and James Foster.
Joiner is a three-star prospect from Vail (Arizona) Cienega who technically remains committed to Arizona after the Wildcats fired coach Rich Rodriguez on Tuesday. He has an official visit to Lincoln set for Jan. 19-21 followed by trips to Baylor (Jan. 26-28) and Alabama (Feb. 3-5). The No. 19 dual-threat quarterback via the 247Sports composite has offers to Arizona, Arizona State, Nebraska and Utah and finished the year with more than 3,500 total yards and 44 touchdowns in 13 games.
Tago holds four stars from 247Sports and three from Rivals and ESPN. The 6-4, 230-pound former UCLA commit from Lancaster (California) Quartz Hill also plays linebacker. He has an official visit to Nebraska set for the Jan. 13 weekend.
Foster, a Missouri decommit, holds has offers from many of the nation’s top programs and is set to visit LSU next weekend. The four-star prospect and No. 14 dual-threat quarterback is from Montgomery (Alabama) Lanier.