In his first year as Oklahoma football‘s starting quarterback last fall, Spencer Rattler showed off his five-star potential. He bounced back from some shaky games early on to put up big numbers for a redshirt freshman.
Through his first four games—wins over Missouri State and Texas bookending back-to-back losses to Kansas State and Iowa State—Rattler averaged had 1,186 passing yards, with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. Three of those picks came in the KSU loss, his first-ever start against an FBS opponent.
From there, he posted a 7-0 record, with 1,845 passing yards, 15 touchdowns, and just two interceptions. The two early losses knocked Oklahoma from reasonable College Football Playoff candidacy, but by season’s end they looked like one of the country’s best teams, especially with a revenge win over Iowa State for the Big 12 title followed by a dominant 55-20 bowl win over Florida.
Head coach Lincoln Riley says that his young quarterback is just scratching the surface. Rattler already has immense Heisman and NFL Draft hype, and Riley isn’t doing anything to tamp that down.
Lincoln Riley expecting more from Spencer Rattler in 2021.
“He did so many good things and certainly don’t want to discount that but the guy can play so much better. For him, we’ve really focused this offseason on him physically.”#OUDNA | #Big12FBhttps://t.co/CH3ptAY9xV
— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) July 14, 2021
“I think he’s taken some steps and him getting full command of our offense and how we want to attack people,” Riley said of his pupil, who was focused on physical development this offseason. “It’s just a constant journey at that position and he’s just on it right now.”
Rattler may not be the biggest quarterback, and he’s not a Kyler Murray-level athlete, but he has the escapability that has made Riley’s star quarterbacks dangerous in years past. He also has an absolutely rocket arm.
Murray followed Baker Mayfield in winning back-to-back Heismans and going No. 1 in the NFL Draft. Jalen Hurts was a Heisman finalist and a second-round pick after one year in Riley’s system, after an impressive run at Alabama. Spencer Rattler will be the first player since Mayfield with multiple years as starter in Riley’s system. The fact that his coach believes he can get “so much better” is a scary notion for Big 12 defenses.