99 Things – #36 Spencer Rattler’s Comeback

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Do you remember when Spencer Rattler was projected to be the number one pick in the 2022 NFL draft? He had a harder fall from grace than almost any player in college football last season. The former Oklahoma quarterback was anointed the next Sooner to win the Heisman before the season started. He was being coached by quarterback guru Lincoln Riley. Now Rattler plays for South Carolina and is looking to revive his career in the SEC. Watching his comeback is going to be the biggest storyline for the Gamecocks this season which is why he is the subject of today’s 99 Things.

Rattler took over the starting quarterback job for Oklahoma for the 2020 season. He had a rough start to the season losing two of the first three games but he quickly turned his performance around. After throwing five interceptions in the first four games, he only threw two interceptions in the last seven games. He finished the season throwing for 3,031 yards and 28 touchdowns while leading Oklahoma to a 9-2 record and a win in the Cotton Bowl. Rattler finished the season strong giving fans hope he would continue to improve into his third season.

The 2021 season was a disaster for Rattler out of the gates. Oklahoma struggled with Tulane in their first game of the season needing the defense to come up with a stop to seal the victory. He struggled to help the offense gain consistency through the first half of the season. Rattler would be benched by Riley in the first half of the Texas game. The Longhorns were leading 35-17 when Rattler fumbled the ball. Riley decided to give true freshman Caleb Williams a chance. Williams would lead the Sooners to a 55-48 victory over arch rival Texas solidifying his spot atop the depth chart. Rattler would attempt just 12 passes in the final six games of the regular season.

The worst kept secret in the Oklahoma program last season was the inevitable transfer of Rattler. Fans should give him credit for sticking it out as long as he did. Rattler did not enter the transfer portal until November 29th which was after the regular season concluded. South Carolina was immediately linked to Rattler due to their need at quarterback plus head coach Shane Beamer’s familiarity with Rattler. Beamer was a coach at Oklahoma from 2018 to 2020 meaning the two overlapped two seasons. Bringing in a quarterback with starting experience could be vital to the success of the Gamecock program in 2022.

One of Rattler’s most impressive attributes is his arm strength. He has the ability to push the ball down field and create an explosive offense. He has a quick release and good velocity on his throws. He can make throws to the boundaries without problem using the full width of the field. Rattler is also a mobile quarterback. In 2020, he rushed for 160 yards and six touchdowns. The biggest question for Rattle is his decision making. He would make dangerous throws in double coverage trusting his arm too much. When the pocket starts to break down Rattler would bail too quickly. He would get happy feet and leave the pocket forcing himself to throw on the run. Rattler has also admitted he needs to improve reading defenses and look at receivers other than his first read.

South Carolina opens the season with Georgia State which should allow Rattler an easy tune up game. He needs to get into a rhythm early because the next two opponents are at Arkansas and home versus Georgia. The Gamecock’s schedule also includes visits from Texas A&M and Tennessee with trips to Kentucky, Florida and Clemson. South Carolina appears to be a program which is improving. The fan base will be relying on Rattler to help the program take the next step and become a threat in the SEC. Can Rattler be the reason South Carolina wins at least eight games next season?

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