PFF names Oklahoma's Spencer Rattler top returning QB in college football

With 3,031 yards and 28 touchdown passes, Rattler performed "at an elite level" throughout his redshirt freshman year and only has brighter days ahead
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There are a lot of extremely talented quarterbacks coming back to college football in 2021.

Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler reins over all of them.

That’s according to Pro Football Focus, which named Rattler the top returning college quarterback in 2021.

Spencer Rattler

Spencer Rattler

“It was apparent from Day 1 that Rattler is a special quarterback and bound to be a star,” PFF writes. “He made the first start of his career against Missouri State in 2020, and the former 5-star recruit absolutely obliterated the FCS defense for a 93.7 PFF grade. The level of competition clearly wasn’t impressive, but the arm talent mixed with his beautiful release certainly was.

“Rattler went on to perform at an elite level throughout his first year starting and finished the season with a 92.5 passing grade. That tied for the third-best in the FBS.”


Other quarterbacks coming back this season include North Carolina’s Sam Howell, Miami’s D’Eriq King and UCF’s Dillon Gabriel. Others, like Indiana’s Michael Penix, Mississippi’s Matt Corral and Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall posted either eye-popping stats or unforgettable turnarounds in 2020. Kedon Slovis of USC and Myles Brennan of LSU also are coming off a strong 2020 season, and Clemson’s D.J. Uiagalelei has the job to himself now after spot duty as true freshman.

Lincoln Riley and Spencer Rattler

Lincoln Riley and Spencer Rattler

Still, after throwing for 3,031 yards and 28 touchdowns with just seven interceptions last season, Rattler — who completed 67.5 percent of his throws and averaged 9.6 yards per attempt with an efficiency rating of 172.6 — may be the most intriguing prospect of them all in his second full season as the starter under Lincoln Riley.

“There were some issues with his reads in the pocket, which we saw on game-sealing interceptions against Kansas State and Iowa State, but that shouldn't cloud anyone's judgment of the redshirt freshman,” PFF wrote.

“Rattler made throws out of the pocket on the run that very few can make. In fact, his 92.1 passing grade outside the pocket was nearly six grading points higher than any other college quarterback. And let’s not forget that his receiving unit didn’t help matters — Rattler had seven big-time throws that were dropped this season, the most any college quarterback has had to endure in a season since 2014.

“Rattler is the real deal. He should be the overwhelming early favorite to take home the 2021 Heisman and just might be the guy to end the winless College Football Playoff record for the Sooners next year.”