To the surprise of no one who has spent any sort of time with Adrian Martinez, the Clovis West 2018 grad was named the starting quarterback for Nebraska’s season opener at home against Akron on Saturday, Sept. 1.
Martinez is the first true freshman to start an opener in Cornhusker history.
“I was ecstatic,” Martinez said at a press conference after being told he was the starting quarterback. “I called my dad and my family almost five minutes later I was already thinking about Akron. When we win, I’ll be on cloud nine.”
Martinez enrolled early at Nebraska in January and participated in spring practices, showing his skill set in the spring game when he ran for three scores and passed for one more.
He was in a contested battle for the starting job with redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia from Calabasas High.
“In my own mind I felt like I was the starter – I felt like I had earned it,” Martinez said. “I’ve been working hard for it obviously.”
Martinez didn’t play his senior year due to shoulder surgery but was a two-year starter for the Golden Eagles, throwing for 2,562 yards and 25 touchdowns his junior year. He also rushed for 1,462 yards and 14 touchdowns.
“I was really excited to tell my dad, he’s a big part of why I work so hard,” Martinez said of his father, Tony. “Calling him and being able to tell him that my hard work has paid off to this point was a great feeling.”
Martinez was a priority for new head coach Scott Frost, who flew to Fresno the following day after leading UCF to a 34-27 win over Auburn in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 1.
“When I was evaluating quarterbacks a year ago around the country, he was my favorite one,” Frost said back in December. “His ability to run and throw, and his maturity as a kid are going to serve him really well. And for the offense that we run, I didn’t think there was a better fit in the country.”
Nebraska plays in the Big Ten Conference and takes on four top 25 teams: at No. 14 Michigan on Sept. 4, at No. 4 Wisconsin on Oct. 3, at No. 5 Ohio State on Nov. 3 and at home Nov. 17 against No. 11 Michigan State.