Spencer Rattler rehabbed NFL Draft stock big time at Senior Bowl

The game featured 30 opt-outs and the story was more about who didn't play as opposed to who actually did. Despite practicing all week, players elected to sit out and not participate in the first showcase for NFL scouts.

South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler, shown here in a game against Clemson in 2023, was the Most Valuable Player of the Reece's Senior Bowl.
South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler, shown here in a game against Clemson in 2023, was the Most Valuable Player of the Reece's Senior Bowl. / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

This was supposed to be the Michael Penix, Jr. and Bo Nix coming out party for the NFL scouts in attendance.

It did not work out that way at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, on Saturday.

No one told former Oklahoma and South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler to follow the script. Rattler was named the MVP of the Reese's Senior Bowl as the National team defeated the American team 16-7.

Rattler, who quarterbacked the American squad, the losing team, was still named the MVP for the touchdown drive that he led in the first quarter. Rattler went 4-for-4 on the drive for 65 yards and threw the American team's only touchdown. Rattler was gracious in accepting the award and thought that playing in the game was beneficial.

Former Tulane signal-caller Michael Pratt did not look very impressive in the repetitions that he attained in the game as he only completed 4-of10 passes for 45 yards and an interception. Both players certainly improved their draft stock. He did not put on a good enough show for the scouts to prove that he came out a year early for a reason.

Penix, Jr. practiced all week and was ready for the game, but shortly before game time informed the coaching staff that he was going to opt-out. This is tantamount to showing up for a job interview and taking a pass.

With Penix, Jr. sitting out, the load was left to former Wake Forest and Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman to get extended playing time. Unfortunately for Hartman, he did nothing to improve his stock and had a dismal performance. He finished the game by completing 7-of-25 passes for 69 yards, while throwing an interception.

As for Nix, he operated a scoring drive for the National squad. He threw the ball into a tight window to Minnesota tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford for a two-yard score. It was a long week for Nix, who started the week out slowly in practice, but was the most accurate quarterback all week and definitely showed out on the touchdown drive for the winners.

Among the biggest standouts included Rattler, former Rice wide receiver Luke McCaffrey, former Mississippi State defender Nathaniel Watson, former Missouri running back Cody Schrader, and former TCU running back Emani Bailey, in addition to others.

"It really exceeded my expectations. We put in a lot of hard work this week. We fought out butts off the whole week, Its been a blessing being around great coaches and great people. I created relationships and had fun. We will take it step-by-step and keep working. We fell kinda short, but it was a great week. Great plays all around."

Reese's Senior Bowl MVP Spencer Rattler

Ced Gray, formerly of North Carolina, finished the game with a game-high seven tackles and broke up two passes. If there was a defensive MVP award, he certainly would have been high on the list. Former Georgia defensive back Tykee Smith was named the MVP of the American team as he led the defensive players with three passes broken up.

NOTABLES: The players who did play in the game, wore a Parrot Head sticker on their helmets in memory of Mobile legend Jimmy Buffett who passed away last year. This year's game was the first sellout of 25,000 fans since Tim Tebow played in the game in 2010.

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