Football vs. Ohio State No. 11

Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez (2) runs with the ball at Memorial Stadium during the game against Ohio State on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The most significant domino in Nebraska football’s road to revamping its offense this offseason officially fell on Thursday morning. 

Junior quarterback Adrian Martinez, one of the most statistically impressive quarterbacks in the history of Nebraska football, officially entered his name in the NCAA Transfer Portal on Thursday morning. Martinez’s final game as a Husker came on Nov. 20, as a shoulder injury he sustained against Wisconsin held him out of Nebraska’s season finale against Iowa.

Martinez’s departure means that, on top of replacing four offensive assistant coaches, Nebraska head coach Scott Frost may need to find a new quarterback, too.

“I want to thank Coach Frost, [former Nebraska quarterbacks coach Mario] Verduzco and the rest of the staff for giving me an opportunity to play for such a great university,” Martinez said in a statement on Twitter. “Thank you to my teammates and lifelong friends for making my time here special. Thank you to the people of Nebraska for your continued support throughout my journey.”

The four-year starting quarterback’s career was always mired in controversy, with his overall record as Nebraska’s signal caller almost always outweighing individual accolades. In the 39 games where Martinez made an appearance over the last four years, the Huskers won just 14. 

However, his statistical resume is extremely impressive. Martinez finished his Nebraska career as the program’s all-time leader in total offense, totaling 8,495 passing yards with 45 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. He also contributed mightily on the ground, with 2,288 career rushing yards and 35 touchdowns.

2021 was a perfect example of the blurry balance between Nebraska’s overall record and Martinez’s individual success. The quarterback posted career highs in passing yards with 2,867 and rushing touchdowns with 13, but also had a career-high 10 interceptions and completed 61.8% of his passes — the second-worst mark of his Husker tenure.

At any rate, the Fresno, California, native and Nebraska graduate should have a suitable market for his services even as he recovers from shoulder surgery. Frost and the Huskers now have some work to do, though.

Of the five non-Martinez quarterbacks on Nebraska’s roster just one, freshman Logan Smothers, has any legitimate collegiate experience. Smothers is one of four freshman quarterbacks currently on Nebraska’s roster, with sophomore quarterback Matt Masker the lone exception.

There’s an increasing likelihood that Nebraska turns to the transfer portal to find Martinez’s successor at quarterback, a group currently littered with former collegiate starters like Oklahoma sophomore Spencer Rattler, LSU senior Myles Brennan and Tennessee freshman Harrison Bailey. 

Martinez’s departure may have been inevitable, but the move places further impetus on Frost in an all-important offseason for the Huskers. 

sports@dailynebraskan.com