Adrian Martinez should have been in class at Clovis West High School in Fresno, California, on Tuesday morning. Instead, he was fielding questions from several media members on the second floor of the Hawks Championship Center.
The early enrollee came off more like a fifth-year senior than a freshman in the middle of his first semester of college. So far, Martinez said his transition to Nebraska has been smooth sailing. Well, outside of one thing.
“It’s going great,” Martinez said. “I would say the toughest adjustment has been the weather. That’s really the only thing. I’ve had a lot of guys help me along and that have been good brothers to me, so everything’s been good.”
That being said, Martinez did say it was “a little strange” being in Lincoln while most of his friends from back home are wrapping up their senior year.
“Most of my friends are still in high school and I’m kind of living a different life,” Martinez said. “I try and stay in touch and stay in touch with my family, and I’ve had a great time here, so I think I made the right decision.”
Martinez said he started to contemplate that decision later in his junior year.
“I felt like I wanted to go in and it’d be beneficial, even if I was going to go into a situation where I wasn’t necessarily going to get a shot at starting,” Martinez said. “I felt like it’d be a good idea to get in there and learn the offense, but obviously I came into this situation that’s a little bit different and even more beneficial.”
Martinez is in the midst of a wide-open battle for the starting quarterback job. He’s one of 10 players (including two walk-ons) who chose to enroll early in Lincoln.
“I’d recommend it to any high-schooler who’s thinking about it,” Martinez said. “I think ultimately it’s a good decision; it’s been great for me, personally. I’ve made gains in the weight room, I’ve come here and gotten to learn the offense and also get credits in college. It’s beneficial from an academic side as well as a football side. It’s been a great transition. Really, if you feel comfortable with the players like I do, you have friends here — other early enrollees — it was an easy transition.”
In addition to adjusting to life in college, Martinez also had to work his way back from a shoulder injury that cost him his entire senior season.
“It’s been a smooth transition for me,” Martinez said. “I really feel like in Orlando during the Under Armour All-American game, that was really my moment to have a transition and then we had some time in the offseason before spring ball came around for me to kind of get some of the rust out and I feel really good right now.”
According to Coach Scott Frost, Martinez is about 90 percent back, although Martinez himself said that while he’s not completely confident or comfortable yet, he’s still beyond where he was when he first got hurt.
“I feel like I’ve surpassed where I was my junior year of high school but just feeling it myself that I’m 100 percent, I think it’s coming soon,” Martinez said. “I feel like I had a really good day today and just with time, just throwing and putting in that time, I think it will come.”
As far as his comfort speaking in front of cameras, Martinez credits his parents.
“My parents always encouraged me to be social and never hide away in my room when people were over,” Martinez said. “I would say that’s one of the things, just getting used to talking to adults and people in general.”
Four months ago, Martinez was a regular high school student in sunny California. Now, he’s getting recognized by random fans as he walks the streets of Lincoln and has a chance to earn the starting quarterback job for the University of Nebraska. A lot can change in a hurry, but for the time being Adrian Martinez is enjoying the ride.
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.