News began breaking yesterday afternoon that blue-chip defensive end, one-time Notre Dame commitment, and Cal incoming freshman Chris Martin was looking to transfer.
It was first mentioned by ESPN’s Bruce Feldman on Twitter, who heard that Martin was transferring because of distractions at home in the Bay Area. (This was the same hometown that he left before his senior year of high
school, when he transferred to Grandview High School in Denver after
playing for Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd.)
Feldman wondered aloud if this was potentially good news for Notre Dame, who were the school Martin committed to under head coach Charlie Weis.
As first mentioned by IrishSportsDaily’s Steve Wiltfong, it turns out it wasn’t good news for the Irish. Instead, Martin will be avoiding distractions in Gainesville.
From the Orlando Sentinel:
Martin announced his decision on his Facebook page.
“I would like to thank everyone who has been supportive of me
through my crazy mental episodes. A special thank you to my mother and
father who have supported me no matter what. I love you both. God has
granted me a second chance. A chance I cannot mess up. With that said.
Go Gators. Thank You to everyone and all the coaches who showed their
interest in me.”
The Oakland (Ca.) native signed to play with the Golden Bears in
February. He had originally committed to Notre Dame in 2009 as a junior
but reopened the recruiting process after the school fired then-head
coach Charlie Weis.
He explained his decision to leave California in a statement Tuesday:
“My decision to transfer definitely does not reflect on the football
program or the academics at Cal,” he said in his statement. “Rather, I
feel like for me to focus and truly reach my potential I need to leave
many of the distractions I have here at home in the Bay Area. I need to
venture away from home and start my college career somewhere else
where I don’t have those distractions.”
To his credit, head coach Jeff Tedford supported one of the highest rated recruit ever to commit to the Golden Bears:
“This is a decision that Chris and his family have made to do what they feel is in the best interest of Chris,” Tedford said. “We with Chris the best as he pursues his college football career. It is important for young men to make the correct decisions to be able to reach their full potential. I understand his concern with the continued outside distractions he’s facing, and I support Chris and his decision to transfer. I wish him and his family all the best.”
The recruitment of Chris Martin was one of the more bizarre of last year’s recruiting cycle, and Martin looks as though getting to the actual playing field in college will continue with the same antics.
I’m not sure what distractions lay at home in Oakland, but they must be serious if they’re more distracting than the agent-allegations that have created quite a stir in Gainesville. While it wasn’t a direct poach, Martin joins Irish defectors Justin Trattou and Omar Hunter on the defensive line at Florida.