Former Transfer Val Martin Goes After PJ Fleck, Gophers Football

Photo: Matt Blewett – USA TODAY Sports

PJ Fleck and the Minnesota Gophers, like much of college football, have a love/hate relationship with the NCAA Transfer Portal. We’ve seen some huge contributors pulled out of the portal, but they’ve lost some big time talent to it too. And even when the transfer portal works in your favor and spits talent out, the end result isn’t always a positive.

Val Martin Takes to Twitter to Slam PJ Fleck

Take Val Martin, a veteran defensive tackle from NC State, who landed in Minnesota prior to the 2021 season, for example. Martin landed in Dinkytown with a lot of prior on-field power-five experience and wound up hating it. Just ask him. Or even easier, check Twitter.

Val Martin was one of many defensive transfers brought in before the 2021 season. And he wasn’t the only defensive tackle. He spent three seasons at NC State, before transferring to Minnesota. He never played over 260 snaps while with North Carolina State.

Context

Like most upperclassmen who enter the portal, Val Martin came to Minnesota for more playing time. He didn’t get it (156 snaps). Is he mad about that? Obviously. Still, that doesn’t mean his Twitter accusations are false or should be immediately disregarded.

Martin is not the first player to go after PJ Fleck, on Twitter or elsewhere. Not only have I written blogs about public challengers, but I’ve often defended him. I can confirm through my own sources, however, that there are plenty of former Minnesota Gophers football players who loathed their experience at the University of Minnesota, under Fleck.

Others in Martin’s transfer class

The other players in Val Martin’s transfer class; Nyles Pinckney (Clemson), Jack Gibbens (Abilene Christian – FCS) and Dylan Wright (Texas A&M) all made, or are making, much larger impacts than Martin did while here.

Pinckney played nearly 500 snaps on the Gophers’ interior defensive line in 2021 and was last seen trying out for the Saints. Gibbens transferred from an FCS school and ended up as, arguably, the best defensive player on the Gophers roster in 2021. He is heading to Titans camp as an undrafted free agent.

Dylan Wright is a one-time 5-star wide receiver who transferred to the University of Minnesota with most of his eligibility still remaining. He’s made some highlight reel catches and has a lot of talent, but in his two seasons, has yet to reach his full potential. This year feels like a do or die season for his future.

What’s Next?

In the age of endless transfers and players gaining more of a voice in college athletics, I expect to see more of these reports around college football. None of the things that Val Martin tweeted were damning to the Minnesota Gophers program but they certainly don’t look good, nor will they help transfer portal recruiting in the future.

One current player has already come out and semi-defended Fleck’s honor. It’s the guy who Martin claims punched him at a Gophers practice. Trill Carter, who’s expected to play a large role on Minnesota’s interior defensive line in 2022.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan