By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa - All signs now point to Oliver Martin coming back home to play receiver for the Iowa football team.
You can expect an announcement within the next few days based on what I’m hearing from multiple sources, including some who are well-connected to the situation.
For whatever reason, things didn’t work out for Martin at Michigan and he is ready to move on after having spent two years as a Wolverine.
Martin is actually ready to move home and the Hawkeyes reportedly are thrilled to have him.
He visited Iowa on Thursday morning and the visit went very well according to somebody who would know.
In fact, the visit went so well that Martin doesn’t plan to visit any other schools.
He wants Iowa and Iowa wants him, so it’s just a matter of time before it becomes official.
Rumors about Martin wanting to transfer have persisted for over a year, first surfacing last spring and then resurfacing again this spring.
It finally became official when Martin, a 2017 graduate from Iowa City West High School, put his name in the NCAA transfer portal, as news of that broke on Thursday.
Martin hasn’t said anything publicly about his situation, nor is he active on social media.
I remember from covering him in high school as being a quiet kid who mostly kept to himself. He grew used to the attention as his recruiting stock soared, but never seemed comfortable with it.
Iowa fans, obviously, were disappointed, and in some cases, upset and offended, that Martin picked Michigan over the Hawkeyes.
Iowa has struggled to sign elite receivers under Kirk Ferentz, so to lose one from the high school located just a few blocks west of the Iowa campus was a punch in the gut.
Some Iowa fans apparently still are upset that Martin picked a traditional Big Ten power over the Hawkeyes, and my advice to them would be to get over it and move on.
Michigan just felt like a better fit for Martin at the time, with all of its tradition and with Jim Harbaugh leading the sales pitch for Martin.
Harbaugh still hasn’t defeated Ohio State or won the Big Ten East Division as the Michigan head coach. But he excels as a recruiter, and will think outside the box in order to land a prospect.
Martin in addition to being a football star in high school also excelled in swimming and baseball.
So when Martin committed to Michigan during his official visit, he and Harbaugh celebrated the moment by jumping into a pool together.
The video went viral on social media, much to the dismay of Iowa fans.
But then a lot can change in two years after the buzz wears off from joining a blue blood program.
And that seems to be case with Martin.
He was redshirted as a true freshman at Michigan in 2017 and then played as a backup this past season, appearing in all 13 games and finishing with 11 catches for 125 yards and one touchdown.
It is easy to say that Martin was homesick since he is returning home, or that he wants a more prominent role. But that is merely speculation without Martin saying why he left Michigan.
Whatever the case, Iowa is on the verge of gaining a talented player at a position of need. Receiver is always a position of need for the Hawkeyes.
I would like Martin’s chance of being immediately eligible this coming season if he were transferring to Ohio State or Miami (Fla.) to play quarterback, and I say that only half kidding because there is no consistency with how the NCAA has ruled on individual transfer cases.
But if Martin doesn’t win his appeal, he would have to sit out this coming season and then have two seasons of eligibility.
Martin gave the mighty Wolverines a chance, but it just wasn’t the right fit.
And that might have been partly due to Martin knowing what was available to him at home.
Iowa isn’t Michigan in terms of tradition and prestige, but Iowa still has a lot to offer, especially to a kid who grew up in the heart of Hawkeye Nation.