Tay Martin wanted to play college football closer to home and didn’t want to wait a full season to do it.
The ex-Washington State wide receiver seemingly checked off both things less than a week after placing his name in the NCAA transfer portal, announcing on Twitter Saturday he’ll finish his college career with Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys are still operating under the assumption the Big-12 Conference will play football this fall – something Martin couldn’t have done by staying at Washington State, in the wake of the Pac-12’s postponement two weeks ago.
Martin also cited a desire to move closer to his home state of Louisiana in order to spend more time with his baby daughter, Reign.
The wide receiver penned a lengthy Twitter note, thanking his teammates and coaches at WSU and explaining in more detail his reasons for leaving the Cougars.
“WAZZU! Thank you! These past 3 years have been life changing. From an academic, athletic and cultural standpoint, I’ve grown so much. To the fans, I’ll never forget the love you guys have shown & how you’ve embraced a bottom boy survivor from Louisiana! I appreciate all of you,” Martin wrote. “To my teammates, the bond we’ve built is for a lifetime! To coach (Derek) Sage who was the 1st to take a chance on me, thank you! To Coach Rolo who has been so understanding & helpful through these times, thank you! To all of the Coaches, trainers and people in the Washington State community who have touched me, thank you!”
In the message, Martin clarified his decision wasn’t based on anything that happened in Pullman, or experiences with the new coaching staff.
“My decision had nothing to do with WSU,” he wrote. “I am a father. I believe it is my responsibility to be closer to my daughter, Reign & my family during the crisis. Covid-19 has shown me that tomorrow isn’t promised.”
Martin also mentioned losing two of his college teammates: quarterback Tyler Hilinski, who died by suicide in January 2018, and safety Bryce Beekman, a fellow Louisianan who was found dead in his Pullman apartment on March 23.
The move to Stillwater, Oklahoma, means Martin will be less than 700 miles from his hometown of Houma, Louisiana, rather than 1,700.
“In my life I’ve lost a mother & within my time at WSU I’ve lost two of my closest friends,” Martin said. “I’ve had family get sick during this time and refuse to not be there for the ones that matter most. With all that being said I will finish my college career at Oklahoma State University! Thank you Coach Gundy and Coach (Kasey) Dunn for the opportunity! Let’s ride!”
The 6-foot-3, 186-pound Martin possesses the sheer talent and athleticism to play almost anywhere in the country, and his numbers at WSU would back that up. In three seasons playing in Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense, Martin accumulated 1,615 yards and 18 touchdowns, and would’ve been the Cougars’ top returning outside receiver.
Even if he has a chance to start for the Cowboys, it’s unlikely he’ll be featured at the same rate he was in Pullman. Oklahoma State employs a run-heavy offense, featuring arguably the country’s top running back in junior Chuba Hubbard. Last season, Hubbard and quarterback Spencer Sanders accounted for 467 carries. The Cowboys had 562 rushing plays compared to 362 passing plays.
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