QB Tate Martell, once a Washington verbal commit at 14, picks Texas A&M

Tate Martell made headlines in the college football recruiting world three years ago, when he announced his verbal commitment to Washington as a 14-year-old, during the summer before entering eighth grade.

When Steve Sarkisian left Washington to take over the USC football program, Martell eventually backed away from his pledge to the Huskies. But he stepped back into the recruiting spotlight again Thursday. Now 17 and ready to begin his junior year at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, Martell announced his commitment to Texas A&M via Twitter.

Martell certainly validated Sarkisian's early interest, developing into the No. 32 overall prospect in the Class of 2017 ESPN Junior 300 and the nation's No. 2 pocket passer.

Martell became the second middle school quarterback to give a verbal commitment to a Pac-12 program; two years earlier, David Sills pledged his commitment to USC and then-head coach Lane Kiffin. It looks as though Martell will take the same path Sills did, signing with a different program than the one he originally committed to.

Martell narrowed his final choices to Alabama, Michigan, Texas A&M, USC and Washington before selecting the Aggies.

Because of his size -- 5-foot-11 and 188 pounds -- and ability to improvise in and out of the pocket, Martell has long been compared to former Texas A&M standout Johnny Manziel, and the Aggies capitalized on that when recruiting Martell. While Martell has said he doesn't see himself as the "next Johnny Manziel," the success Manziel found in College Station has quarterbacks flocking to Kevin Sumlin's program.

Texas A&M is on a significant roll with quarterback recruiting. The Aggies have gained commitments from an ESPN 300 quarterback in each of the past four classes -- though 2013 signee Kohl Stewart opted for professional baseball -- and will enter this fall with the top pocket passer in the 2014 class, Kyle Allen, battling the top overall quarterback in the 2015 class, Kyler Murray.

As a high school sophomore, Martell threw for 2,537 yards and 40 touchdowns against two interceptions for national power Bishop Gorman. He added 433 yards and five touchdowns rushing.