Former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops says there’s a lot to like about Heisman Trophy candidate Spencer Rattler ahead of the 2021 season. The Sooners quarterback, projected by some to be a top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, was recruited by Stoops before his exit in Norman and years later has developed into a standout signal caller as one of the nation’s best.

Stoops coached his share of top-end quarterbacks in Norman, including Sam Bradford and Jason White, two record-setters as pocket passers. Rattler offers a bit of a different dynamic as a bit more mobile option.

“Great release, great arm,” Stoops told Colin Cowherd on Thursday. “He has the ability to throw the ball at any angle and he’s got a really quick release, and very accurate. He committed to OU when I was there.

“He committed young, I want to say his sophomore or junior year and then I stepped away, but of course, Lincoln had the best relationship with him and he stayed with us, knowing Lincoln was going to be his guy and was going to be his quarterback coach and head coach.”

Starting 11 games last year, including one where he was pulled midway for a few series, Rattler bounced back for a solid second season in Lincoln Riley’s offense. He finished the year with 3,031 yards, 28 touchdowns, seven interceptions, a 67.5% completion percentage, 160 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns.

Earlier this spring, SEC Network and ESPN college football analyst Greg McElroy said Rattler should be the Heisman frontrunner in 2021.

“Look, Spencer Rattler’s your bread and butter, man. And if you look at how he played down the stretch last year, especially with the inconsistencies that he had in the first month of the season, I thought he showed tremendous mental toughness to hang in there and more specifically against Texas, when he was put, pulled to the sidelines — hey, you’ve got to start taking care of the football — from that point forward, when they put him in, he won that game in dramatic fashion.

“From that point forward, he was a completely different player. I thought that growth would only accelerate throughout the course of the spring. It didn’t, but I don’t want to take too much away from a spring game performance. He should be the odds-on favorite to win the Heisman next year, and he should be — if not the top quarterback returning in college football, certainly the top two or three.”

Rattler hasn’t mentioned leaving Oklahoma early for the draft after the 2021 season, but he’s battling North Carolina’s Sam Howell for top NFL billing.

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