Spencer Rattler recalls ‘toxic’ situation at Oklahoma as South Carolina QB prepares for debut in spring game


Former Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler made headlines last season after he went from the overwhelming preseason Heisman favorite to the bench. One year later, the new South Carolina quarterback spoke out about the dynamic that resulted in the end of his tenure at OU. 

“A lot of guys don’t get another chance, to start over where they’re really wanted,” Rattler told ESPN. “I was just happy to get away from a toxic situation and get somewhere new. Anywhere was going to be better, and I found the right place.” 

Rattler led the Sooners to a 5-0 start in 2021, but struggled to match his impressive freshman season as fans began chanting “We Want Caleb” — a reference to freshman quarterback Caleb Williams. 

Sooners fans got their wish when, down 35-17 to Texas in the Red River Showdown, Williams came off the bench to lead the biggest comeback in the history of the rivalry game. Williams led Oklahoma to an 11-2 record, but the Sooners failed to win the Big 12 for the first time under Lincoln Riley. After the season, Riley became the first OU coach since 1947 to leave for another collegiate job when he departed for USC. Williams followed, while Rattler opted to head to the East Coast USC instead. 

“When you look at the facts of what happened there with Spencer, it looks a little different than what some people are making it out to be,” said tight end Austin Stogner, who transferred from OU to South Carolina with Rattler. “He won big games. He won a conference championship, the kind of things 95% of teams would kill for from their quarterback. It’s crazy how quickly they turned on him.” 

Now, Rattler has a chance to rewrite his story at a program starving for the kind of success he had at Oklahoma. Gamecocks coach Shane Beamer led his team to a surprising 7-6 debut despite bottom-tier quarterback play due to injuries. South Carolina threw just 15 total passes in a Duke’s Mayo Bowl victory over North Carolina. 

Rattler completed 70.1% of his passes for 4,595 yards, 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for the Sooners in 23 appearances. He earned First-Team All-Big 12 honors in his lone full season as a starter and led the Sooners to their first New Year’s Six bowl victory since 2016. 

Though Rattler declined to expand much on the toxicity of the situation, his frustration with what unfolded at Oklahoma was undeniable. “I don’t want to go in depth with it, but it was out of my control,” said Rattler. “All I can tell you is that we were undefeated at the time I was benched. We won a championship the year before and were going to win another one. I could go on and on.” 

Rattler will make his debut for South Carolina on Saturday, April 16, during the Gamecocks’ spring game at 7 p.m. ET. 



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