South Carolina starting quarterback Spencer Rattler is returning to the Gamecocks for his second year with the program. Rattler, who transferred from Oklahoma prior to the 2022 season, made the announcement in video posted to Twitter on Tuesday.
Rattler had an up-and-down 2022 season for the Gamecocks. He finished his first year in Columbia, South Carolina, with 3,012 yards passing and 18 touchdowns but also threw 12 interceptions for a team that finished 8-5 and ranked No. 23 in the final AP Top 25 poll.
He finished the year on a high note that should have South Carolina fans excited about the future. He threw for 438 yards and six touchdowns in the 63-38 win over Tennessee which, for all intents and purposes, knocked the Volunteers out of the College Football Playoff race. He followed it up with 360-yard, two-touchdown performance in a 31-30 win over Clemson -- the Gamecocks' first win over their arch-rival since 2013. That win, like the Tennessee outcome, essentially eliminated the Tigers from CFP consideration.
Rattler was similarly inconsistent in his three seasons at Oklahoma. He threw for 3,031 yards and 28 touchdowns in 11 games with the Sooners, and entered the 2021 season as the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. But five interceptions in the first four games relegated Rattler to the bench behind Caleb Williams. Rattler was a five-star prospect and the No. 9 overall player in the Class of 2020.
Let's break down what the news means for Rattler and the Gamecocks heading into the 2023 season.
A third chance
Rattler has plenty of talent. We've seen it for three years. He has a massive arm and is mobile enough to add that threat into his arsenal. It didn't work out at Oklahoma, and former South Carolina offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield didn't trust him downfield until the last two games of the regular season. This will be his third chance to live up to the recruiting hype ... and might be the magic elixir for Rattler's future.
Coach Shane Beamer hired Dowell Loggains to replace Satterfield, Loggains recently worked on the staff at Arkansas under coordinator Kendal Briles, who molded quarterback KJ Jefferson into a star. Will Loggains transform Rattler a true superstar? That remains to be seen. But, the momentum he generated late in the season coupled with an upgrade on the staff could set him up well for the 2024 NFL Draft.
Continuity is key
The Gamecocks' late-season run vaulted them to third in the SEC East and their first season with eight or more wins since 2017. That is a dramatic improvement from 2021 when they finished 6-6 in regular season play. That success landed, which further proves that the administration is behind their young coach.
Rattler's return is another indication that the foundation of the program is as strong as its been in nearly a decade. South Carolina isn't in position to suffer massive personnel loss because, from an overall team talent perspective, it is nowhere close to most of its SEC counterparts. As a result, continuity is a must for a team like South Carolina to contend.