What could possibly be next for Texas A&M after five-star quarterback commit Tate Martell announced the reopening of his recruitment followed by the cringe-worthy Twitter rant from Aggies wide receiver coach Aaron Moorehead?
Try this: New offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone is being blamed for losing Martell, the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School.
According to Martell’s father, Al Martell, who spoke with Rivals’ Adam Gorney on Thursday, his son’s decision to decommit from A&M spawned from a communication breakdown once Mazzone joined the A&M staff in January.
“Tate ran a good campaign with them and found a love affair really quick,” the elder Martell told Gorney. “Everybody was really comfortable with it. I was comfortable with it up until shortly after the Mazzone arrival.
“We were there at the end of January and again in February and then a third time in March after the Ohio State visit. Just making the trips and through it all, I try to keep my opinions and feelings what I see as a parent when we’re on those trips, but it was different.”
Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin and Mazzone go way back to their days as assistants at Minnesota. Mazzone has a strong track record of developing quarterbacks, including success at his last two stops at Arizona State and UCLA.
Sumlin split with former offensive coordinator Jake Spavital after the disastrous end to last season when A&M saw its two former 5-star quarterbacks, Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray, transfer.
“It was different with Mazzone with the whole communication,” Al Martell said. “Mazzone had been there two weeks for our visit in January, he had been there maybe all of 10 days, so I get it. If the guy didn’t want to talk a whole lot, he’s still feeling out his job and his co-workers and his staff and where he fits in.
“I get that, but when you go out a month later, for two days on that trip, didn’t talk to him once and then when we were there in March for their scrimmage, again, we were there for four days and not once did Mazzone ever talk, and I was five feet from him. Not a handshake, not anything.”
The fallout on Twitter, where Martell maintains an active presence as he documents the recruiting process, has been swift, and, as Twitter can be, a bit nasty.
According to 247Sports, Ohio State takes over as the likely landing spot for Martell, who will be in Dallas this fall when Bishop Gorman takes on Cedar Hill on ESPN.
“In his defense,” Al Martell said of Mazzone, “it’s nothing personal, I don’t think (Mazzone) dislikes Tate. In his 35-year coaching career, I don’t think he’s coached anybody under 6-2. That’s a concern from a parent’s standpoint. It would certainly be nice to have a little wherewithal or has had a little success with a quarterback who might only hit 6-foot.
“The guy has to believe in him. In Mazzone’s defense, maybe that’s where it kind of stems from because everybody he’s offered, even the kids a couple weeks ago, 6-2 and 6-4. They’re your more typical, taller quarterbacks.”
Whatever the reason, the Aggies are again playing defense when it comes to its quarterbacks, and that’s never a good look.