It’s hard to move past the label that’s put on you over a certain period of time, especially when the spotlight has been on you since high school. This is the situation that South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler finds himself in. Can the transfer quarterback lead the Gamecocks while shutting out the outside noise?
He’s sure trying.
You’ve most likely seen the highlights from Oklahoma or the film clips from the Netflix documentary Rattler was apart of. He’s never escaped the spotlight, it’s always followed him, whether it shows him in a positive light or not, it’s there. But that’s college football, especially as the starting quarterback of a powerhouse program, there’s no running away from it if you want to be the guy.
This is the case for Rattler at South Carolina, which presented an opportunity for the young man to find a second chance. Expectations were going to follow him wherever he ended up and it’s no different under head coach Shane Beamer.
“Spencer has proven that he can win championships,” Beamer said. “Last time I checked, he’s won his last 15 games as a starting quarterback, if I’m not mistaken, and has a Big 12 Championship to his name. He was quarterbacking a top-five team last year that was undefeated when he got ‘benched.’ He’s shown what he can do and he brings great talent and leadership to the position.”
People are going to believe everything that occurred at Oklahoma was all self-inflicted and maybe some of it was. But, we can’t act like everything was perfect under Lincoln Riley or that Rattler is the same man that he was three years ago. We all change, sometimes for the better. But when it comes to outside noise, that is an area that Rattler knows he cannot control. So, he embraces it.
“You have to welcome it at this position, I’ve been in the limelight you could say since high school,” he said. “It’s nothing new to me, you have to embrace it as a quarterback. That comes with your leadership qualities, work ethic and everything.”
If you’re still hung up on a reality show that followed him around, detailing his decision to play for Oklahoma or the reasoning behind him having some controversy attached to his name, that’s on you. Oklahoma fans didn’t have a problem when Rattler helped the Sooners win a Big12 title or when he started the season as a Heisman contender.
If you ask him about the outside perception, he knows everybody will draw their own conclusion.
“Umm, everybody kinds of see’s it, it is what it is,” he said. “I’ll tell you who I am, I am a competitor, confident guy, team guy and I love the game. Every coach I’ve played with can tell you that, every teammate.”
When Beamer was asked about his quarterback’s image, he pointed toward people drawing a conclusion from his teenage years.
“The only thing I can gather is that too many people watched QB:1, way too many people watched that. I still haven’t to this day, some people may say that portrayed him in a positive light. Well, if I had a documentary of me when I was 17, I would not be pleased with what was in it.
“All I know is the Spencer I was around for two years at Oklahoma on and off the field, and the Spencer that I’ve seen in his time here as well,” Beamer added. “So, if you take a documentary when he was 16, 17 years old and I think last season it’s easy for some people to say he handled that situation poorly, but I have a hard time finding where he handled the situation in a bad way that effected that football team last year, after he lost his starting job.”
It should be noted that Beamer knew enough people at Oklahoma that he could get an honest assessment on whether or not the quarterback would fit at South Carolina. He didn’t go into this thing blind, he did research.
Spencer continues to prepare for the upcoming season in Columbia, knowing that all he can do is try to win games. Yes, there will be pressure, but this young man has been there before, so we’ll see what it looks like when he lines up behind center against Georgia this season.
The QB says he has learned a lot of lessons about life because of the distractions over the past year.
“I’ve learned a lot, being a quarterback, going through the (transfer) portal, going through adversity, it’s made me realize a lot of different things and see things differently,” he said. “Other than that, I’m the same guy ready to work and have fun.”