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Washington made a splash in the recruiting world Wednesday, but don't bother checking the ESPN 150 for the newest Huskies commit. He won't be included in that list this year, next year or the one after that.
It's highly unlikely a single Washington player still will be on the roster by the time Tate Martell makes an appearance in purple and gold, but after receiving a scholarship offer from the Huskies three weeks ago, the soon-to-be eighth-grade quarterback committed to coach Steve Sarkisian on Wednesday, Martell's father, Al, confirmed to ESPN.com.
The Washington coaching staff is not able to confirm whether it has accepted the commitment from the 14-year-old Martell. Schools are not able to offer a written scholarship until Sept. 1 of a prospect's senior season, according to NCAA rules. Martell won't be able to sign a national letter of intent until Feb. 1, 2017."Coach Sarkisian has such a good record with quarterbacks that it felt like it was a good spot," Tate Martell said. "Finally meeting with coach Sarkisian, it was really cool. He's a player's coach. He's a guy that, if you really needed to go talk to him about something, you can talk to him."
Martell attended Innovations Academy Charter School in San Diego last year -- he will be home-schooled this year -- and earned attention from several college programs with his performance in quarterback guru Steve Clarkson's Throwback Football League as the signal-caller for the Mira Mesa Chargers.A YouTube highlight video of Martell leads off with the 5-foot-11, 180-pound quarterback rolling to his right and firing a 35-yard strike while on the run. "It's pressure, but I take it in, and, when I see things like, 'I don't know how he's going to perform in high school,' it motivates me to get better," Martell said of committing as an eighth-grader.
Clarkson, who coaches Martell and groomed quarterbacks such as Sarkisian, USC's Matt Barkley and 2015 prospect David Sills (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy), said Martell is a huge fan of former Washington star and current Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker.
While the early commitment certainly caught most of the college football world off guard, Clarkson said plenty of thought went into it from Martell and his family. The 14-year-old is close with Sills, who made a commitment to USC as he was entering the eighth grade.
"The family followed that situation," Clarkson said. "He's seen how that unfolded. But that's kind of the trend. The landscape has changed."Added Al Martell: "We saw this coming. ... We kind of prepared for this day, this moment if you will. "The best analogy I can use is today was our engagement, our engagement to a long-term relationship."
Clarkson said Tate Martell was thrilled when the offer was extended nearly one month ago, when the quarterback was on campus for an unofficial visit. On Wednesday, he had thought enough about the possibility of playing for the Huskies.
"This wasn't a knee-jerk reaction to an offer," Clarkson said. "After getting over the initial shock of it and talking about it at length, he decided to commit today. It's a chance to go to school where one of his idols played."