When the news first broke that Oliver Martin was potentially transferring, Iowa fans were excited. When he reported back to Ann Arbor (late, but still back), they were disappointed. When we then learned he had indeed entered the transfer portal and intended to leave the Wolverines, Hawkeye fans were some mix of excited and skeptical. Fool me once, and so on.
But a day after officially choosing to transfer, reports started to roll in that Martin was in Iowa City. That would make sense, he’s from there. But the reports weren’t just that he was in Iowa City, they were that he was in the Iowa Football Complex.
Hawkeye fans were again excited.
Today, that excitement is warranted as the Iowa City-native announced his intentions to come home for his final three years of college.
Martin returns to Iowa City entering his redshirt sophomore season. He sat his first year at Michigan and then went on to catch 11 passes for 125 yards and a lone touchdown as a redshirt freshman last season.
As it stands currently, Martin would have to sit this season out and then play his final two years in Iowa City. However, there are already rumblings the family and coaching staff are working through the paperwork on a waiver for immediate eligibility.
As was pointed out in Overreaction Monday recently, the NCAA has been inconsistent at best in it’s handing out of said waivers. But those it has handed out have tended to have one of two things in common: a player transferring from some distance to a school within 100 miles of their home town or a player claiming low prospects of playing time due to some circumstances around coaching. Martin fits both criteria coming home and leaving a school which just had an offensive coordinator, and really an offensive philosophy, change this offseason. But again, it’s the NCAA so you never know.
Martin joins a pretty good group of WRs at Iowa. The starters figured to be Brandon Smith and Ihmir Smith-Marsette on the outside with Nico Ragaini manning the slot. There’s some good depth behind those guys with the likes of Tyrone Tracy and Max Cooper, among others. So Martin will have his work cut out for him should he gain eligibility this season.
At 6’1” and 198 pounds, Martin isn’t the biggest receiver and is more in the mold of the slot type receiver like Ragaini. However, he was a star of the recruiting service camps during his initial recruitment due to his high end athleticism. Those test results were a big part of his 4-star ranking in high school.
With that skillset, Martin could push Smith-Marsette on the outside as a guy who can stretch the defense. It will be interesting to see how he fits with the group as a whole and perhaps more interesting to see how offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz can utilize the suddenly strong group of receivers in an offense that has historically focused more on running the ball and throwing to the tight end.
The addition of Martin brings the Hawkeyes to 85 total scholarship players. That’s the limit for fall camp. Yet Iowa is still reportedly in play for Rutgers transfer TE Travis Vokolek. How can this be? Simple: there will be further attrition this offseason, so stay tuned.
Welcome home Oliver Martin!