Spencer Rattler Should be Priority No. 1 For The Hawkeyes [OPINION]
Going into the 2021 college football season, Spencer Rattler was among the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy. The former Oklahoma starter was set at 11-2 odds to win the award in August, according to Caesars Sportsbook, as reported by cbssports.com.
The expectations for Rattler were such that this was no surprise -- let alone the fact that in 2020, the Phoenix, Arizona native passed for over 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns while leading the Sooners to a 55-20 victory over the Florida Gators in the Cotton Bowl. After initial struggles in getting adjusted to the speed and talent at the college football level in 2020, the former five-star recruit was set to have a special 2021.
Things quickly shifted for Rattler just a few games into the season when Caleb Williams, the top quarterback recruit from the 2021 class, took over the starting job at Oklahoma.
The redshirt-sophomore started the first six games of the season, but couldn't quite get the offense off the ground like many expected him to. In their matchups versus FBS opponents, the Sooners could only muster 29 points a game. This was in contests against Tulane, Nebraska, West Virginia, and Kansas State. For a team that was supposed to beat the breaks off their opponents and put up ridiculous offensive numbers, this wasn't cutting it.
Halfway through Oklahoma's matchup with their bitter rival the Texas Longhorns, head coach Lincoln Riley (who has since departed for the top position at the University of Southern California) chose to put in Williams. The true-freshman led the Sooners to a major come back victory after being down by 21 points.
Rattler wouldn't start again for OU, and after changing his Instagram bio from "Quarterback at Oklahoma University" to "Quarterback," it was pretty clear that Rattler would leave Norman. He entered the transfer portal last week.
Now, to the point at hand.
Iowa just got blown out of the water against Michigan in the Big Ten Football Championship this Saturday, 42-3. We don't exactly need to relive the whole game, but to sum it up, both Spencer Petras and Alex Padilla played, and poorly. Petras went 9-22 for 137 yards and Padilla went 10-15 for 38 yards and a pick.
Blame offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz if you want -- that'd be justified. He's been awful all season. But pointing out the lack of talent at quarterback is more than fair, too.
And now that former four-star recruit and third-stringer Deuce Hogan has entered the transfer portal, the depth chart just got a little bit thinner.
The Hawks haven't had a star at the quarterback position since C.J. Beathard left -- not that everyone would count him as a star, anyway. Other than that, names like Ricky Stanzi, Drew Tate, and Brad Banks come to mind, at least in recent memory.
Chuck Long is one of the few quarterbacks in Hawkeye history to be recognized as a full blown star.
There have been a ridiculous amount of years where Iowa was "just a quarterback away," especially with the elite defenses that Phil Parker has put together. The offensive weapons that the Hawkeyes have had make their way to the NFL in recent years further that point: TJ Hockenson, Noah Fant, Akrum Wadley, George Kittle, Mekhi Sargent, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, to name a few.
When pointing to this season, an offense with players like Tyler Goodson, Sam LaPorta, Nico Ragaini, Tyrone Tracy, and Charlie Jones ranks 123rd out of 130 teams in the FBS in total offense, it appears to be another one of those years.
So, is Rattler the solution?
I wouldn't say so, to be quite honest. He'd be fun as all hell, though.
In an offense that provides a balanced attack and a running back like Goodson, the pressure of being the lone playmaker would be relieved from Rattler. He'd be able to make the throws that Petras and Padilla can't make. He'd be able to make off-script plays, provide a little flair to an offense that has none, and he would be a MEGA STAR in a city and state that is die-hard for their Hawkeyes.
The bottom line is this -- Iowa's offense needs a lot of work. Brian Ferentz should be gone, the offensive line (which is a staple for the Hawkeyes) needs improvement, and throwing in a few more weapons surely wouldn't hurt.
Adding a quarterback with the star power of Spencer Rattler would be a step in the right direction, and the Hawks should shoot their shot.