Former Oklahoma starting quarterback Spencer Rattler will transfer to South Carolina, the redshirt sophomore announced on Twitter. Rattler reunites with Gamecocks head coach Shane Beamer, a former Sooners assistant, in Columbia.
Rattler entered 2021 as a preseason Heisman favorite and presumed first-round pick for the 2022 NFL Draft following a strong 2020 season. However, Oklahoma’s offense was sluggish to open the year, combining for just 39 points in wins over Nebraska and West Virginia in early-season tests. With the Sooners down double-digits against Texas in the Red River Showdown in October, Rattler was benched in favor of backup Caleb Williams, who led the biggest comeback in the history of the rivalry. Williams then started the rest of the season.
An Arizona native, Rattler completed 74.9% of his passes for 1,483 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions in 2021. He enters a South Carolina quarterback room that dealt with massive injuries and inconsistency in Beamer’s first year with the program. Three players threw at least 89 passes, but the roster combined to complete just 57.7% of passes for 2,373 yards.
Rattler will be joined by a familiar name as former Oklahoma tight end Austin Stogner will join his quarterback as a transfer for the Gamecocks. Stogner caught 14 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns for the Sooners in 2021 and should immediately be a contributor.
What does Rattler’s transfer mean for South Carolina? Here are takeaways from Monday night’s big news.
Monster pickup for Beamer
It would be an understatement to call South Carolina’s quarterback room crazy in 2021. At one point, grad assistant Zeb Noland came off the bench to start because so few players were ready for game time. FCS transfer Jason Brown played admirably in relief of expected starter Luke Doty, but the unit was understandably inconsistent.
Rattler immediately puts an end to the carousel. For the issues he had at Oklahoma — namely with his turnovers and decision-making — there’s no way he would have been benched if the Sooners did not have Williams, the No. 2 quarterback recruit in the nation, sitting behind him. South Carolina needed this win from the transfer portal to immediately improve the most important position on the field.
Beamer has always been known as a great recruiter, but his ability to tap into his time at Oklahoma proved beneficial as well. As an assistant for the Sooners from 2018 to 2020, he has a close relationship with Rattler and Stogner.
A perfect rehab spot
Rattler wilted at times this past season under the spotlight and pressure of being QB1 and the consensus Heisman favorite at Oklahoma. At South Carolina, he will get to work through some of those demons without constant pressure to perform.
As a redshirt freshman in 2020, Rattler completed 67.5% of his passes for 3,301 yards, 28 touchdowns and 9.6 yards per attempt. He threw for multiple touchdowns in nine of his 11 games and had some of the biggest highlight reel throws in college football. The arm talent he possesses is undeniable.
Beamer knows Rattler, and just as importantly, knows how to create a favorable situation. After Heisman winner Bryce Young, the second tier of SEC quarterbacks is open for the taking. There’s no reason Rattler can’t find himself back on among the premier quarterbacks in that conference, and perhaps in all of college football, in due time.
Building momentum in Columbia
The Gamecocks were not an especially good football team in 2021 despite reaching bowl eligibility. They needed a miracle final drive to edge out one of the worst Vanderbilt teams of all time and a total mental collapse by Florida to reach .500.
The nice part about overachieving? Suddenly, Beamer has something to sell. Even though Beamer had the previous relationship with Rattler and Stogner, players of that caliber don’t pick floundering situations.
With Stogner and Rattler in the lineup, Beamer should be able to string together solid seasons to sell to recruits long term. The momentum has already paid off as South Carolina has the No. 16 recruiting class in the nation on deck. With any luck, South Carolina could be the 2022 version of Arkansas. The future looks bright.