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Drake Martinez Cleared to Play Immediately at Michigan State

Linebacker Drake Martinez won his appeal with the Big Ten Tuesday and will be able to play immediately for Michigan State next season. He is a transfer from Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California and he will have three years of college eligibility with the Spartans.

There was some concern that since Martinez started his college career with another Big Ten team, Nebraska, he would have to sit out this coming year despite coming to the program from a junior college.

More from Joe Rexrode of Detroit Free Press:

When Martinez signed on Feb. 4, Big Ten rule dictated that he would have to sit out the 2015 season and have two seasons of eligibility starting in 2016. That’s because Martinez — younger brother of former Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez — started his career with the Cornhuskers, another Big Ten school.

Martinez redshirted at Nebraska in 2013 and then transferred to Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif., for 2014, after suffering an undisclosed illness. Despite playing just one season, the Big Ten was going to take a season of eligibility from him for returning to a different league school.

Known as an athletic, speedy linebacker, Martinez will prove to be an asset on special teams for the Spartans. He will likely back up Ed Davis at strong-side linebacker as well.

The Spartans are coming off a successful 2014 season in which they went 11-2 (7-1 in the Big Ten) and beat Baylor in the Cotton Bowl. Michigan State is set to open the 2015 season on the road at Western Michigan on September 4.

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