Spencer Rattler’s Journey

Spencer Rattler is an anomaly of sorts. A truly unique figure in college football that has seemingly defied the odds and “underperformed” all at the same time. Before we get into any statistical analysis or NFL projection, I believe it’s important to note the impressive journey Rattler has been on. Once a Five-Star prospect & Lincoln Riley protégé, Rattler had to rebuild from the ground up after Caleb Williams took over the starting job while both were at Oklahoma. After that 2021 season, both quarterbacks ended up transferring.

Williams went on to follow Riley to USC where he became the Heisman Trophy winner and is now projected to be the first overall pick in the draft. Rattler, who actually played very well during his tenure as the starter in Norman, once again had his pick of high profile programs to choose from. Instead of going the conventional route and transferring to another blue blood, Rattler opted to restart his career at the University of South Carolina.


Former Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler (7) – Brett Deering/Getty Images

Many, myself included, wondered why he would opt for a situation that placed him amongst the vaunted SEC defenses with a far less talented team. However, that decision proved to yield dividends not only for not only his on field development, but for the intangibles that he’ll need to continue to grow into. Rattler was labeled as an arrogant player that was a less than enjoyable teammate to be around due to his appearance as one of the leads on the Netflix show QB1.

The show followed multiple top recruits on their journey through their last high school years and didn’t paint Rattler in the best light. That perception followed him to Oklahoma where he also was criticized for poor body language and an assumption he wasn’t a leader in the locker room. While there were many examples of the former, we never really got any confirmation of the latter. That was until Caleb Williams detailed his experience in the quarterback room with Rattler on his podcast Almost Pro.


South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) passes the ball in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Clemson on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

So, while his talent was never brought into question by the masses, the type of person he is certainly was. His tenure at South Carolina dispelled almost all of those notions as his head coach Shane Beamer and his teammates, including star wide receiver Juice Wells, sung his praises for his leadership, work ethic, & toughness both on and off the field. As much as any on field development, the rounding out of who Rattler is as a man will go a long way into his evaluation as an NFL prospect.

As for his play on the field, Rattler has as much arm talent as any quarterback in the draft. He can make throws at all three levels, has developed great pocket presence, grown as a processor both pre and post snap, & is an underrated creator out of structure. At times, his gunslinger mentality and unwavering belief in his ability got him into trouble and led to some unnecessary turnovers. While overall he protected the ball fairly well, he grew in the facet – especially this past season. Due to high difficulty level by way of offensive line play, lack of consistency in the run game, and a defense that wasn’t the greatest, Rattler had to operate at an elite level to maintain the functionality of that Gamecock offense. More times than not, that’s exactly what he did against some of the toughest defenses in the country.

Another couple things to highlight is the fact that he’s played in multiple systems & has played with both an extremely talented supporting cast and a less than stellar supporting cast. After his first 8 starts at South Carolina, Rattler elevated his surroundings arguably as much as any quarterback in the country to finish his career. That variance in situation will in my opinion only help Rattler throughout his professional journey. While in the moment it can be difficult to see past the current circumstances, the peaks and valleys have developed a very good quarterback that checks most of the boxes.

Statistically, Rattler finished his collegiate career with 10,807 passing yards, 77 passing touchdowns, 68.5 completion percentage, & 32 INT’s. On the ground, he added 425 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. While there’s certainly going to be aspersions cast on him, his on field play and off field development has warranted serious consideration as an NFL prospect. With the Senior Bowl, Combine, & Pro-Day ahead – Rattler has every opportunity to continue to prove doubters wrong. I believe with a good pre-draft process, we will see Rattler go much higher than expected. With continued development and the right organizational fit, he can potentially become a solid NFL starter, but more than likely sticks as a longtime backup for a contending team worthy of a top 100 pick.