Spencer Rattler Overcomes Adversity, Embraces Growth on NFL Journey – “You Got To Bounce Back”

    Spencer Rattler has seen his draft stock fluctuate between No. 1 overall pick and undrafted free agent. At the Combine, he discussed his CFB journey.

    South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler has parlayed his transfer to the program and a strong pre-draft process into hopes of a selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. But two years ago, Rattler entered the summer months as a potential No. 1 overall pick at Oklahoma before losing his job to Caleb Williams and seemingly falling off draft boards completely.

    At the NFL Combine, the South Carolina product dove into college career and what he learned about himself along the way.

    Spencer Rattler’s College Football Career

    Coming out of Pinnacle High School in the 2019 class, Rattler was a five-star recruit and the No. 1 pro-style QB, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. As such, the Arizona native had no shortage of suitors, including Alabama, Texas, and Notre Dame.

    But with Lincoln Riley producing back-to-back Heisman Winners and No. 1 overall draft picks in Baker Mayfield (2017) and Kyler Murray (2018), Rattler chose to join the Sooners.

    He sat behind Jalen Hurts in 2019 as the former Alabama QB revitalized his career and took Oklahoma all the way to the College Football Playoff. But in 2020, Rattler took the baton and proved there would be no fall-off at the position.

    After throwing for 3,031 yards and 28 touchdowns with just seven interceptions, he finished as a Freshman All-American, first-team All-Big 12, Co-Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, and first-team Academic All-Big 12, for good measure.

    Entering that offseason as a redshirt sophomore, Rattler was a common fixture atop way-too-early 2022 NFL mock drafts (including from yours truly). Yet, after leading the Sooners to a 5-0 record to begin the 2021 season, Riley opted to hand the reigns to Williams against Texas in Week 6 to spark the offense, and they never looked back.

    With Williams cemented as the starter by the end of the season, Rattler opted to enter the transfer portal, tabbing South Carolina as his next destination. At the 2024 NFL Combine, he reflected on the decision, saying, “Coach Beamer — he’s a great guy, wanted to play for somebody like that. The university, the fanbase — everything — the conference, I mean, closest thing to the NFL, wanted to be ready for this step.”

    MORE: 2024 SEC Transfer Portal Rankings

    Rattler’s first season in South Carolina didn’t do much to regain favor among draft analysts, as he completed 66% of his passes for 3,026 yards, 18 TDs, and 12 INTs. Nevertheless, it was his first year in an entirely new system with a new cast around him.

    In his final campaign, Rattler turned back the clock and showcased a more refined version of his game, increasing his completion rate by nearly 3%, tossing 60 more yards, one more TD, and four fewer picks. Rattler credited Gamecocks offensive coordinator and QBs coach Dowell Loggins for the improvements: “Coach Dowell Loggins, when he came in 2023, I mean, that took my game to the next level I felt like.”

    And while Rattler has said and done all the right things in the leadup to the 2024 NFL Draft, including putting on a show at the Senior Bowl, the noticeable growth off the field has analysts and fans buzzing.

    Rattler’s Growth and Maturity

    As a star of Netflix’s “QB1: Beyond the Lights,” Rattler’s maturity was called into question, leaving many to believe he had an attitude problem. Now, it’s important to note he was a high schooler receiving a level of attention few at that age receive. But it wasn’t a one-off event.

    His decision-making was an issue at Oklahoma, resulting in boos and “we want Williams” chants from his own fanbase and, ultimately, his benching in favor of this year’s presumed No. 1 pick.

    During the Texas game and the following outing against TCU, Rattler’s body language made his feelings clear — not something you want from a future franchise QB.

    But since he’s been out of Norman, all Rattler has done is prove he can be a leader of men. He talked down frustrated players on the field and sidelines, bounced back after making mistakes, and showed tremendous self-awareness.

    Rattler explained what he would tell his 17-year-old self on NFL Live: “I would definitely tell a 17-year-old me to stay as humble as you possibly can. When you have a lot of success at a young age — I’ve been through it — you think you’re hot stuff. And then you realize you got to restart in college.”

    Then, when asked what it means to be a quarterback at the Combine, Rattler answered, “Obviously, you got to be the best leader … be natural at it. Understand you are going to fail. But you got to bounce back and keep going. You got to keep taking shots and getting up and having great body language to show that you keep fighting for your team.”

    KEEP READING: 2024 SEC Power Rankings

    Will Rattler hear his name called within the first two days of April’s draft? It would’ve been a definitive yes if you asked that question two years ago. Last year, a definitive no. Now? Time will tell, but one thing is for certain: Rattler’s far outgrown the teenager most remember him as.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

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