Why now is the time for guys like Dakereon Joyner and Tate Martell to seriously consider a move to WR
In the past week and a half, Dakereon Joyner and Tate Martell both got stomach-sinking, kill-the-vibe news.
They didn’t get the depth chart spot they were hoping for.
Obviously that was different for each player. Martell transferred from Ohio State to Miami in hopes of becoming a starting quarterback in what looked like an extremely favorable situation for him with a new coaching staff. He got the waiver for immediate eligibility and all that was standing in his way of become the face of the program was that all-important depth chart decision.
For Joyner, he was coming off his redshirt season at South Carolina in hopes of being named the backup quarterback. We knew that Jake Bentley was pegged as the starter. What we didn’t know was whether Joyner would beat out blue-chip quarterback recruit Ryan Hilinski, who enrolled in January. As we found out from multiple reports on Tuesday, Hilinski is “QB2.”
Because it’s 2019, the natural assumption is that Martell and Joyner will enter the transfer portal and look to play quarterback elsewhere. At the very least, both would have legitimate chances to start at Group of 5 schools … or they could enter another quarterback battle at a Power 5 school and hope for the best.
Or there’s another option. It’s one that makes a lot of sense to someone on the outside looking in like myself.
Now is the time to switch to receiver.
Martell is reportedly already taking reps at receiver for the Hurricanes’ scout team. That’s not incredibly surprising considering Martell actually said while he was competing with Dwayne Haskins at Ohio State that if he didn’t win the starting quarterback job in 2018, he’d consider a move to the position.
But until Martell is on the depth chart at receiver and getting full-time reps there, he’s still leaving the door open at quarterback.
Joyner, on the other hand, doesn’t seem interested in that at all. After all, he’s a former blue-chip quarterback recruit entering his second year at South Carolina. Before Hilinski signed, Joyner was billed as the quarterback of the future in Columbia. It wasn’t long ago that Joyner poured cold water on the possibility of changing positions.
Any thoughts of trying another position? Dakereon Joyner: “Not a chance.”
Says he came here to play quarterback. Could have gone to Alabama or Clemson to play another position.
— David Cloninger (@DCPandC) April 6, 2019
I get where Joyner is coming from. People have doubted his quarterback abilities before and to him, this is just another hurdle for him to overcome. That’s what competitors do. They don’t just say, “well, I guess you’re right. Time for me to take my ball and go home.”
Here’s the thing, though.
We can agree that because of where Martell and Joyner are at on their respective depth charts, they no longer control their fate at the position. Meaning, if the guys above them play well, there’s nothing they can do in practice to jump them on the depth chart.
But at receiver? That’s a different story. Obviously for the simple fact that both would play a position that gives them a much clearer path to playing time, that matters.
Just ask Braxton Miller — the 2-time Big Ten Player of the Year who lost his job to a redshirt freshman and a third-stringer — about making that move. Miller made that switch in his final year of eligibility at Ohio State. And even though it hasn’t worked out for him as well as he hoped in the NFL, he still got drafted in the 3rd round and got a legitimate chance to become an NFL starter.
Martell and Joyner have 3 and 4 years of eligibility left, respectively. They could still follow in the footsteps of someone like Florida’s Kadarius Toney.
If you recall, Toney was a 2-time All-State quarterback in high school. But just before his Florida career started in 2017, he made the switch to receiver (and he played a little Wildcat quarterback). Now, he’s a major weapon for a top 10 team heading into his junior season.
Or what about David Sills? He’s the former quarterback who Lane Kiffin offered a scholarship to when he was 13 years old. Like Joyner and Martell, Sills was decorated as a quarterback recruit throughout his high school career, but when he got to West Virginia, he didn’t win the starting job as a true freshman. So he got reps at scout team receiver, but still wanted to play quarterback. Buried on the 2016 depth chart with Will Grier expected to arrive the following season, he transferred to JUCO to play quarterback.
Maybe Joyner will do something like that. But what happened to Sills after that year at JUCO? He finally made the full-time move to receiver, and of course, returned to West Virginia, where he led FBS in touchdowns in 2017 and earned second-team All-America honors as a senior in 2018.
Am I saying Joyner or Martell would have that kind of success if they switched to receiver? No. Is there a chance they could develop at the position with coaches like Dan Werner and Dan Enos? Absolutely.
But even if they do develop at quarterback, odds are that they’ll get the same message of “you should consider a position change” once their college career ends. There’s no shame in that.
Here are just some of the other guys who made the switch from quarterback to receiver and benefitted greatly from it:
- Hines Ward
- Antwaan Randle El
- Randall Cobb
- Matt Jones
- Terrelle Pryor
- Julian Edelman
- Josh Cribbs
I’m sure there’s an even longer list of quarterbacks who stuck it out at the position when they could have had a longer, more lucrative career at receiver.
See “Tebow, Tim.”
Look. I’m not here to shame anyone for doing that. Joyner and Martell can be like Tebow and say that the only position they want to play is quarterback, no matter how transferrable their skills are.
Maybe to them it’d be like a realtor telling a young couple “you know that you could get way more for your money if you were willing to live in Montana instead of San Francisco.” And if that’s how Joyner and Martell feel, I get it. That’s their choice.
But if they’re willing to open their minds to new possibilities, they could embark on a new path.
One that’s much clearer than the one they’re on playing quarterback.