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Transfer Breakdown: Damien Martinez



Credit: Canes Twitter

The Miami Hurricanes landed the top transfer player in the spring portal window, star running back Damien Martinez. The standout from Oregon State joins star quarterback Cam Ward, creating what many expect to be one of the most explosive offenses in the nation. Martinez, a first-team All-Pac-12 selection and Doak Walker Award semifinalist last season, chose the Canes over Arizona, Kentucky, and Mississippi State despite Arizona making a strong push. For the Canes, this acquisition addresses a gap they have had for more than a decade: a star running back.

This past season, Martinez had 194 carries, rushed for 1,185 yards, scored nine touchdowns, and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. To put these numbers into perspective, Miami has not had a running back rush for over 1,000 yards since 2016. The last running back to do so was Mark Walton, who rushed for 1,117 yards in his sophomore season.

Martinez is a shifty runner who specializes in gaining positive yards. Last year alone, he forced 57 missed tackles and was ranked eleventh in the nation in yards after contact. Martinez has great vision, can find the soft spots in defenses, and can cut on a dime, usually finding a crease between the tackles or on the outside for big gains. At 6’2″ and over 235 lbs, Martinez is the type of running back that Mario Cristobal dreams about—a strong, bruising runner who will wear down defenses deep in the third and fourth quarters, making it difficult for opposing defenses to tackle him and forcing them to quit.

For Canes fans, the addition of Martinez is a clear sign that Mario Cristobal and the Canes are going all in this season. Miami is in “win now” mode and, after adding the best quarterback in the portal in the fall cycle, they have added a caliber of player at running back that Miami has not had in at least eight years. Miami is not only looking to make the playoffs with this addition but also to make a deep run and establish themselves as a serious playoff contender.

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