UNLV sophomore Kyle Williams was excited when he heard former Bishop Gorman star quarterback Tate Martell would become one of his teammates.
But the wide receiver made sure to make one thing clear Wednesday after the Rebels concluded their first practice of fall camp at Rebel Park.
“No spot is given to nobody,” he said. “So I just expect him to work to see what he can bring to the table.”
Martell was not present Wednesday at the portion of practice open to the media. But he was on the field when practice concluded and figures to be a factor in UNLV’s quarterback competition.
Rebels coach Marcus Arroyo said Martell is still going through the process of getting cleared to practice in full.
There is no timetable for his clearance, Arroyo said. Nor is there a timetable for a decision on a starting quarterback.
Martell walked on to UNLV’s football team as an “athlete” but was listed as a quarterback on the roster distributed to journalists at practice. The 23-year-old previously played at Ohio State and Miami, attempting 29 passes since 2018.
Arroyo said he talked with Martell a few times over the summer. “We got a chance to get to know each other, about our backgrounds, what we’re both looking for,” Arroyo said.
“Any opportunity we’ve got for anybody to make our team better or to enhance our roster or for a young man at this stage of college football to have a chance, I’m willing and open to that opportunity,” the coach added.
Quarterback is a question mark for the Rebels, who have sophomore Doug Brumfield, junior Justin Rogers and freshman Cameron Friel on scholarship. Last year’s starter, Max Gilliam, opted to end his football career, leaving the door open for a new signal caller this fall.
Brumfield completed 9 of 21 passes last year for 151 yards. Rogers completed 14 of 22 passes for 161 yards and a score. Williams, the reigning Mountain West Offensive Freshman of the Year, said he’s seen a different kind work ethic from the quarterbacks this year after an 0-6 season in 2020.
“This is their offense. They’re leading it and we follow off of their energy,” Williams said. “I work with all the quarterbacks … so I feel like the connection is there.”
Arroyo said he hopes his quarterbacks “elevate” throughout the course of camp and explained that they must continue developing chemistry with the rest of the offense.
“Quarterbacks take time, man. … In our system, they have to do it all. They have to jell with the other 10 guys in our offense,” Arroyo said. “They can’t show fear, frustration, fatigue at any time.
“Everybody’s looking at you and that’s a hard torch to carry a lot of times, especially when you’re young. They’re doing a good job of understanding that … but we’ve got a long ways to go, which is exciting. I love the work.”