MANHATTAN — Adrian Martinez called his move from Nebraska to Kansas State a business decision.
But that doesn’t mean he expects his only season as a Wildcat to go as usual.
“I wasn’t looking for a school that was on the hype,” Martinez, a four-year-old starter at Nebraska quarterback, said Wednesday in his first media session since arriving at K-State for a super season. senior 2022. “It was not a strictly personal decision.
“It was a matter of business for me, and one of my goals is to get to the NFL. And in my mind, K-State gave me the best option to do that with a really good culture, a really good program, a good team (and) good guys in an attack, I felt like I could fit in and grow and show some of my skills that I hadn’t necessarily been able to to display, and that’s what it was all about for me.
But before you dismiss Martinez’s motives as strictly selfish, understand that he values a positive work environment and sees it as a key part of his journey to career success.
“I would say the culture,” he said of what drew him to K-State. “And for me it’s the coaches (and) the players. There’s a real sense of camaraderie here and that’s something I was looking for in the process of finding a new school and what I found here.”
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Martinez certainly enjoyed individual success at Nebraska, where he started all but one of his 39 games, passing for 8,491 yards and 45 touchdowns while rushing for 2,301 and 35 scores. But the Cornhuskers never won more than five games in his four years.
Martinez also found a connection to K-State’s new offensive coordinator, Collin Klein, himself a former Wildcats quarterback.
“He was definitely a big factor for me,” Martinez said of Klein, who was promoted to full-time coordinator after serving in an interim role in the Wildcats’ Jan. 4 Texas Bowl victory over LSU. “I loved my coaching job at Nebraska, and I wanted a relationship similar to where I was going to end up, and I felt like Coach Collin could give me that on top of being a coach. really shiny and solid football.
“He’s been hugely successful here. He knows what it’s like to win here and he’s a guy (that) I can use his brain 24/7.”
K-State coach Chris Klieman, who has made good use of the transfer portal in other positions, said he liked what Martinez brought to the table.
“He’s here for the right reasons. He’s here because he wants the opportunity to play,” Klieman said. “He got along great with Coach Klein and myself, and I’m really excited because I saw him compete.
“I didn’t know him before the recruiting process, but I saw him compete. I know a few coaches (in Nebraska) who talk the world about him. He’s going to be, I think, a really special person in our program.
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Martinez arrives as the heir apparent to Skylar Thompson, another super-senior who last season enjoyed an extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA in 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Presumably, this will give replacement Will Howard and some of the younger quarterbacks in the program more time to develop.
But Martinez, who suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out of Nebraska’s 2021 season finale, will be limited in spring training in an effort to regain his full strength for pre-camp. -season.
“I want to make sure I can play in the fall and that’s the most important thing,” he said. “There’s no point in rushing and risking that I can’t play in the fall.”
Martinez, who at 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds is an accomplished runner in addition to his passing prowess, could form a dynamic backfield duo with junior running back Deuce Vaughn.
“Deuce is an All-American. I think there are a lot of guys who would love to play alongside him and I’m really excited to see what it can look like and what we can do together,” Martinez said.
Vaughn’s presence may also allow Martinez to reduce his own rushing attempts, which could help him stay healthy.
“I really think I embody a dual-threat quarterback,” he said. “I feel strong in my ability to start football and make it work.
“Running is definitely part of my game. It’s something I’m looking to do maybe a little less here, in all honesty, but something that gives a spark, I think, to the attacking side of the ball. I’ I will try to make plays and the next evolution will be to make plays and return the ball less.”
Working on decision making will be a point of attention for Martinez, who has been plagued with turnovers during his career at Nebraska.
“And also one of the challenges will be getting to know these guys and becoming a leader,” Martinez said. “Those are all things I’m working on in the process.”
Kansas State adds four new players on signing day
Wednesday was also the NCAA’s traditional signing day, and Klieman announced the addition of four new players — three from the high school ranks and one transfer from junior college.
New incoming freshmen will be Goodyear, Arizona, quarterback Adryan Lara, Canton-Galva athlete Tyson Struber, who will likely start as a wide receiver, and Olathe North defensive back Jacob Parrish.
Juco’s addition is Vaai Seumalo, a 6-foot-3, 310-pound defensive tackle from Garden City Community College.
Between signing days in December and February, K-State also recruited five veteran players through the transfer portal — Martinez, defensive back Josh Hayes (Virginia via North Dakota State), linebacker Branden Jennings (Maryland ), linebacker Will Honas (Nebraska) and safety Shawn Robinson (Missouri), who began his college career as a quarterback at TCU.