NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at South Carolina

A lengthy career with meaningful stops at Oklahoma and South Carolina has come to an end for Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler, who declared for the 2024 NFL Draft following the end of the team's 5-7 season. The top quarterback prospect from 247Sports' Class of 2019 arrived with plenty of fanfare, but flash quickly turned to grit for a signal-caller who endured plenty of career challenges, particularly this past season. 

"These two years have by far been the best times of my football life," Rattler shared in a statement. "The relationships made with my teammates, the big wins together, and getting to experience this great city of Columbia and the best fan base in college football each and every weekend. I want to thank Coach Beamer for bringing me here to South Carolina and letting me be a part of this family. His support and vision for this program and its players is something special."

Though he arrived at Oklahoma from Pinnacle High School (AZ) with enormous hype, Rattler sat behind Jalen Hurts as a freshman. He did, however, validate the expectations with a 3,000-yard passing effort in his first year as a starter during the COVID-impacted season. That proved to be difficult to replicate; he was benched midway through the 2021 season at Oklahoma in favor Caleb Williams, the eventual Heisman Trophy winner at USC. 

A fresh start with South Carolina had its highs, the pinnacle being a three-game hot streak at the end of 2022 with back-to-back wins over Tennessee and Clemson and a Gator Bowl barn burner to boot. Within that stretch, Rattler hit 1,000 yards passing and threw 10 touchdowns. 

But as a team, South Carolina had one of the most-sacked offenses in the entire FBS this season. Though Rattler had a statistically significant season with another 3,000-yard effort, it was tough sledding on a down-to-down basis. On many occasions, he was forcing plays for better or worse. Overall, he finishes his college career with 10,807 yards passing and 77 touchdowns. 

Rattler's draft stock

After putting together an impressive 2020 season with the Sooners, many speculated Rattler would be a surefire first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. Amid a disappointing end to his time with the Sooners and the reboot in Columbia, South Carolina, Rattler's stock has cooled. However, there are still reasons to believe his name will be called at some point during the draft's weekend. 

So happens, Williams projects as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft while Rattler is likely to end up as a potential Day 3 selection, according to CBS Sports NFL Draft expert Ryan Wilson

"I actually like Rattler a lot and think he did a good job for South Carolina with little around him (with the exception of WR Xavier Legette)," said Wilson. "I'd take him in Round 3, but he may end up as a Day 3 guy. Really good arm, good athlete, but can force too many throws when trying to make plays late and oftentimes they result in turnovers."

Who fills in for Rattler at South Carolina?

With Rattler off to the NFL, Beamer's next priority should be finding his quarterback for next fall. An early candidate will be backup quarterback Luke Doty, who appeared in a handful of games last season for the Gamecocks. Another option for Beamer would be to hit the transfer portal for a plug-and-play starter. A potential name that could fill that role is Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson, who is expected to hit the transfer portal when the window opens next week.