Stock Watch: The Spencer Rattler edition

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Back in another lifetime, in a career dominated not by playbooks, Twitter and quarterbacks and rather judges, courtrooms and clients, there were often some days dominated by difficult conversations. With the old saw being that the practice of law is wonderful, were it not for the clients, there are some difficult conversations that are often needed. Moments when a client needs to be brought in, sat down, and given the harsh reality of their case.

Perhaps evidence is not going their way, or perhaps witnesses have been discovered that shed new light on the situation. Perhaps a difficult judge was drawn, or maybe the client themselves stepped in it a bit. Regardless of the reasoning, a tough discussion about strategy was needed. Maybe even a complete reversal on the client’s stance.

We called those the “time to come home” conversations.

It might be time for such a conversation about Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler.

Stock Down: Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma

A few weeks ago during a nationally-televised game against West Virginia, Oklahoma Sooners fans chanted for backup Caleb Williams after Spencer Rattler threw an interception before halftime.

Saturday in the Red River Showdown, they got their wish.

After a shaky start against Texas, that saw Rattler throw an interception as well as lose a fumble on a fourth-down situation, Lincoln Riley turned to Williams. The true freshman, from the Washington, D.C. area, proved ready for the moment. Williams first got the Sooners on the board prior to taking over, with this 66-yard touchdown run on a fourth-down play early in the second quarter:

Then, Williams stepped into the lineup with the Sooners trailing 35-17, and helped lead a wild Oklahoma comeback as the Sooners survived with a 55-48 win over Texas.

In his relief appearance, Williams completed 16 of 25 passes for 212 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including this deep shot to Marvin Mims that helped the Sooners tie the game:

But where does that leave Rattler?

The frustrating part about this afternoon for the Sooners passer is that it comes in the wake of perhaps some of his best football of the season. After that interception against West Virginia, the one that led to the student section chanting for his backup, Rattler settled in and delivered some of the best reads and throws of his season over the next six quarters. For example, in that game against the Mountaineers, Rattler led the Sooners on the drive for the game-winning field goal, starting it with this read and throw from the shadow of his own goalposts:

Then the following week in a win against Kansas State, Rattler completed 22 of 25 passes for 243 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including this that flashed his elusiveness in the pocket:

Still, there were warning signs even in that effort, as Rattler was intercepted on this underthrown vertical route in that game:

And then today, with Rattler struggling, Riley finally made the switch some had been calling for.

So where do Rattler and the Sooners go from here? Riley declined to say after the game who would get the start for the Sooners next week against TCU, but did remain positive about Rattler: “It wouldn’t have been hard to give it back to Spencer [Saturday],” Riley said, saying Rattler is “unflappable.” But with Williams sparking such a comeback, and Rattler having been on thin ice entering this stretch of play anyway, you can envision a scenario where Williams remains the starter.

Or, perhaps Riley does return Rattler to the lineup.

Either way, we are going to learn a ton about this young man from a mental and competitive toughness standpoint over the next few weeks. These next few weeks might be as critical — if not moreso — for his draft stock than anything that has happened to date.

Stock Up: Matt Corral, Mississippi

(Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports)

Mississippi quarterback Matt Corral had a chance for a statement game last week in Tuscaloosa when he took on Nick Saban’s defense and the Alabama Crimson Tide. That outing did not go so well.

Perhaps his response a week later offered the kind of statement he needed.

In a wild game against Arkansas, Corral and Mississippi came out on top by a final score of 52-51. In the win Corral completed 14 of 21 passes for 287 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and also added another 94 yards and yet two more scores on the ground.

Perhaps his most impressive throw was this deep shot to Braylon Sanders:

What might tell the story of Corral’s rise to the top of the QB class so far is the juxtaposition between his outing Saturday, and his game against Arkansas a season ago. When these two teams met last year, Corral threw six interceptions in an 18-point loss. Then two months later he would throw five in a loss to LSU.

He has yet to throw an interception in 2021.

Stock Steady: Malik Willis, Liberty

(Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis remains one of the most electrifying passers in the college game, and Saturday offered more of the same. Willis provided some more thrilling moments in Liberty’s 41-13 victory over Middle Tennessee as he threw a pair of touchdowns and added another score on the ground.

It was moments like this that had football fans and draft aficionados alike wondering about what Willis could do at the next level:

Or perhaps this two-point conversion, that had the broadcast team openly asking “How do you stop him? How many quarterbacks in the country can do that?”

The only issue on the day? The three interceptions Willis threw. But studying him in preparation for this season, and watching him in 2021, there is no denying the talent, traits and ability. The ceiling could be enormous for Willis at the next level. We have seen teams take chances on pure talent and traits in recent drafts, and Willis might be the next example.

Stock Up: Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina

(Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports)

With the status of this incoming quarterback class changing by the week, and with the struggles from players like Spencer Rattler, the door has been left open for players to rise. We have covered some such risers already, such as Malik Willis, Matt Corral and Kenny Pickett.

It might be time to officially invite Grayson McCall to the party.

The redshirt sophomore continued his impressive season in Coastal Carolina’s win Thursday night over Arkansas State. In the victory, McCall completed 18 of 23 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns, brining his total to 13 TD strikes on the year against just a single interception.

There was this 99-yard strike early in the game:

And then this touchdown throw later that had to be placed over a pair of defenders for the score, delivered while under pressure and on the move:

Again, McCall is just a redshirt sophomore, so it is not a lock that he would leave Coastal Carolina early. But if the door remains open for a QB to rise, McCall might be the one to walk through that opening.

Stock Up: Gerry Bohanon, Baylor

(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

As draft analysts continue to look around the nation for options at the quarterback position, their eyes might be drawn down to Waco, Texas.

That’s because in the wake of Baylor’s 45-20 win over West Virginia on Saturday, junior quarterback Gerry Bohanon now has completed 67.2% of his passes for 996 yards and seven touchdowns, without an interception. In the win over the Mountaineers, Bohanon had a career-day, completing 18 of 29 passes for 336 yards and four touchdowns, setting single-game highs in yardage and touchdown passes.

The scoring started early, on this quick throw to Tyquan Thornton that went the distance:

He later connected with Ben Sims for a touchdown on a wheel route, the second time Bohanon found his tight end for six on the afternoon:

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