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Drake Martinez leaves Husker program

Drake Martinez leaves Husker program

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Martinez brothers Drake, Keaton and Taylor at Memorial Stadium after the Huskers Red-White Spring Game on Saturday, April 6, 2013.

The Martinez era at Nebraska has come to an abrupt end.

Drake Martinez has left the Husker football program, coach Bo Pelini confirmed through a university spokesman Saturday morning.

The brother of former NU quarterback Taylor Martinez, Drake arrived to Lincoln out of Laguna Beach, Calif., as a safety in the 2013 recruiting class but never saw the playing field in his time here.

"Although Coach Pelini had some plans for Drake to see action this season, he ran into some health issues that became frustrating and lost quite a bit of weight and strength," his father, Casey Martinez, told the Journal Star in a statement. "He has now recovered most of it, yet he was pretty adamant about getting a fresh start in a new school. Not much a parent can do at that point."

Despite the fact his older brother was sometimes a lightning rod for debate in the state through his career, Drake told the Journal Star after his commitment that Nebraska still felt right to him. "I wanted to go to the college where I felt most comfortable," he said.

After redshirting last season, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Martinez flashed potential in the spring, but was somewhat limited due to health setbacks, including having his tonsils removed. He also was fighting for playing time on a crowded depth chart at safety.

While Martinez leaves, the Huskers aren't exactly lean at the safety position, with senior Corey Cooper and sophomores LeRoy Alexander and Nathan Gerry the top three. Redshirt freshman D.J. Singleton also is in the mix for playing time and NU just added a surprise safety addition last week in Kieron Williams, a 6-foot, 185-pound prospect who is eligible to play right away in 2014.

Nebraska also has a potential future safety in 2015 commitment Aaron Williams from Atlanta, with expected visits next weekend from safeties Hunter Dale (River Ridge, La.) and four-star prospect Will Sunderland (Midwest City, Okla.), who both hold Husker offers.

​Reach the writer at 402-473-7439 or bchristopherson@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraBC. Steven M. Sipple contributed to this report.

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