Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs made his mark on Mount Vernon. Many in town made their mark on him, too. Wirfs and his mother, Sarah, took The Gazette on a tour of his hometown, revisiting scenes around what essentially is the one square mile where he grew up. This story is a little about what can hold you back. This is mostly about what moves you forward.

Iowa Football

Iowa football notes: Oliver Martin moves along the transfer process

Family has hired an attorney; there's no timetable for a decision

Iowa City West's Oliver Martin during practice at West High School in Iowa City, Iowa, on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Iowa City West's Oliver Martin during practice at West High School in Iowa City, Iowa, on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CHICAGO — Newly minted Iowa wide receiver Oliver Martin was a topic at Big Ten media days.

Earlier this summer, the Iowa City native announced his transfer from Michigan to the Hawkeyes. UM coach Jim Harbaugh said Friday, in so many words, no hard feelings.

“Yeah, I was surprised that Oliver transferred,” Harbaugh said. “He really had a heck of a spring and was at the top of our depth chart coming out of spring ball and was doing very well in school, on his way to the Ross Business School. So that was a surprise.”

What comes next for Martin as far as eligibility goes for 2019 remains up in the air.

Martin has appealed the NCAA for immediate eligibility. Along with UI compliance working on the appeal, the Martins have hired an attorney to help with the process, Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said.

“I’m not an expert on the topic,” Ferentz said. “As an outsider looking in, it certainly seems like your chances of things going your way increase a little bit if you have someone helping you.”

Yes, the Hawkeyes begin camp on Aug. 2. No, there is not a timetable for a final decision.

Harbaugh offered his opinion on transfers in general. (Keep in mind, the transfer process routes through compliance and not athletics.)

“You have one time where you can transfer, be immediately eligible,” Harbaugh said. “A second time you’d have to sit out a year, while still having the graduate transfer rule.

“It would be good to just have a clear, concise, where everybody understands what the ramifications are. I think that would be a fair way to proceed.”

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Iowa athletics director Gary Barta is on an NCAA committee working on changing the transfer process. So far, that group has passed legislation that allows athletes to transfer without asking permission from the school and schools can’t block the financial aid of an athlete transferring out.

Beyond that, there’s still a lot of work to do.

“For me, the job will be complete when we make a decision where either everyone sits in every sport or nobody sits in every sport so we don’t have to wonder,” Barta said.

Ferentz said Martin has been training with the Hawkeyes all summer.

“We obviously think he’s a good football player and a good young person,” Ferentz said. “If he can help our football team (this season), I’ll be all for that, but we’re not counting on him at all. It’d be a bonus pick if it happened.”

Quarterback Nate Stanley said Friday that Martin has been a fit.

“He’s been doing a great job,” Stanley said. “I think he’s a lot more comfortable now. He works extremely hard when we’re throwing routes, skills and drills and 7-on-7. He’s done a great job to put himself in a good position.”

Stanley said Martin has worked at slot receiver and the Z spot on the outside.

Quick slants

— Iowa had three wide receivers transfer in during the summer. Charlie Jones, an Illinois native, caught 18 passes for 395 yards and three TDs at Buffalo last season. Jack Combs transferred from Central Michigan.

Ferentz said Friday Jones and Combs, both walk-ons, will redshirt this season.

— On the “health going into camp” question, Ferentz said, “I think good.” He did mention outside linebacker Barrington Wade and another player “down on the depth chart” are dealing with foot issues. Ferentz also said Wade, who’s listed No. 1 at outside linebacker, would be ready for camp.

— Whether anyone wants to admit this or not, Nate Stanley won’t be Iowa’s quarterback in 2020. So, that puts a premium on who the backup is. Logically, that QB would at least start the 2020 season in the first chair.

Ferentz said right now QB goes sophomore Peyton Mansell, redshirt freshman Spencer Petras and true freshman Alex Padilla in that order.

Padilla, a Colorado native, early enrolled and Ferentz liked what he saw in the spring.

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“This is a really big growth time for young quarterbacks,” Ferentz said. “They’ve gone through spring practice and they’ve practiced in our offense. So now, when they go back and look at film, they can put themselves in those shoes.”

— Barta is good with nine Big Ten Conference games. He’s also be cool if it were 10.

“I think it’s best for our fans, for college football,” Barta said, “but there is a need to have some consistency across the board.”

— Big Ten division realignment has been a semi-hottish topic this week. Barta said there have been no recent discussions.

“I actually really like the fact that we play Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota,” Barta said. “I like the proximity for our fans. I know the East has some programs that have great recognition and are great programs, but I would argue that the West can certainly pull his own and has.”

— You know that wave earlier this summer of premium college football games scheduled for the 2030s? Barta won’t go that far out.

“I am looking at opportunities that are two or three years from now, but not as far out as 2030,” he said.

— Earlier this summer, Barta and Iowa State athletics director Jamie Pollard agreed to extend the Cy-Hawk series through the 2025 season.

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The Hawkeyes and Cyclones have played annually since 1977, with the first meeting between the teams coming in 1894.

Barta and Ferentz have worked together at Iowa for 14 years. They can finish each other’s sentences on certain topics. The Cy-Hawk game is one of those.

“We’ve both been pretty clear,” Barta said, “as long as we’re here, we think it’s good for our state and it’s good for college football. ... It’s an important game for our state and we’ll keep it going.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

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