We continue our profiles of 2020 Heisman Trophy candidates with Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler, who has yet to start a college football game.
It used to be folly to bet on a freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, but that all changed in 2012 when Texas A&M redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel took home college football’s top award. Another redshirt freshman won it the next season in Florida State’s Jameis Winston.
They remain the only two freshmen to win the award – no true freshman has – but Oklahoma redshirt freshman Spencer Rattler is a +1000 third-favorite on BetOnline’s college football odds to win it this year. He certainly has the “name” for a good campaign.
Rattler is also at the right school as Oklahoma is tied with Ohio State and Notre Dame for the most Heisman winners, and two of the past three were Sooners: Kyler Murray in 2018 and Baker Mayfield the year before. Both went on to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, but Rattler won’t be eligible for the draft until 2022.
Rattler also is playing in the most quarterback-friendly offense in the country under Lincoln Riley – that OU kept him from leaving for the NFL this offseason was HUGE. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was known to have coveted Riley but went with former Packers coach Mike McCarthy.
Rattler Best Prep QB In Arizona History?
Rattler was a five-star recruit out of Pinnacle High School in Phoenix in the Class of 2019. The site 247Sports ranked him as the No. 11 player in the country and No. 1 overall pro-style quarterback – and in fact the only five-star QB in the entire class.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Rattler became the only quarterback in Arizona high school history to reach 11,000 career passing yards. He also ran for over 1,000 yards in his prep career to go with 14 rushing TDs. Rattler committed to Oklahoma before his junior season. You may have seen him on the Netflix documentary as one of the featured quarterbacks for the series “QB1.” Rattler actually was ruled ineligible for the final few games of his senior season for “violating a district code of conduct policy.”
Rattler probably would have replaced Murray as Oklahoma’s starter last season had Jalen Hurts not transferred in from Alabama. Hurts was fabulous on the way to finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting. Rattler did see action in three games, but that was under the cut-off to lose his redshirt so the school was still able to use that.
Rattler went 4-for-4 for 50 yards and a touchdown in his college debut against overmatched South Dakota and rushed for 15 yards on two carries. He was 2-for-4 for 23 yards in a blowout of Texas Tech and saw late mop-up action in the College Football Playoff blowout loss to LSU, going 1-for-3 for 8 yards.
Technically, Rattler is battling redshirt sophomore Tanner Mordecai for the OU starting job, but no one expects Mordecai to win that as he wasn’t nearly as touted a recruit. Oklahoma will open the season with a different starting quarterback for the fourth consecutive season but first time he’s not a transfer.
Rattler won’t have one of the best receivers in the country from last year in CeeDee Lamb, a first-round pick of the Cowboys. In addition, wideout Jadon Haselwood reportedly suffered a serious knee injury recently and his season is in doubt. Haselwood ranked fifth on the team last year as a true freshman, catching 19 passes for 272 yards and a touchdown. He was a very touted recruit as well. OU also lost senior receivers Lee Morris and Nick
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Oklahoma opens at home on Sept. 5 vs. Missouri State and will be a gazillion-point favorite at SBR’s best sportsbooks. The Sooners have a win total of 10 (over -120 favorite) and are -110 favorites to win the Big 12. I see a 10-2 record and spot in the Big 12 title game vs. Oklahoma State.