Caleb Williams. Drake Maye. Michael Penix. Jordan Travis. Shedeur Sanders. Bo Nix.
When you ask most college football fans or objective viewers who the best QB in the country is, they’ll probably name one of those guys. The big name players at the Power 5 schools who get the ABC primetime games and the big NFL scouts coming to the games get most of the attention.
However, one of the best QBs in the country isn’t among those listed, and that’s Tulane QB Michael Pratt. The junior signal caller from Boca Raton is the lynchpin of a Tulane offense and team that is expected to be the class of the Group of Five once again and make a run to a New Years’ Six bowl game. Last year, Pratt threw for over 3,000 yards and 27 touchdowns as Tulane both went to the Cotton Bowl and upset USC in the game. However, RB Ty’Jae Spears is now a Tennessee Titan, and the question was whether Pratt and Tulane can keep up that momentum.
Well, Pratt and the Green Wave started off the season with a bang, dispatching a very good South Alabama team 37-17. Pratt was masterful, throwing more touchdowns than incompletions by finishing with a pristine 14-of-15 passing line with four touchdowns in the victory.
Let’s dig into what he did in this game that makes him one of the best QBs in the country, and one you should keep your eyes on this season.
Michael Pratt can throw the deep ball with accuracy
One thing that Pratt and Tulane had going immediately in the South Alabama game is the deep ball. His catchable ball percentage on passes over 20 air yards last year was a good 66.7 percent, and against South Alabama, he didn’t miss many times.
This was a switch verticals route to the top of the screen, and South Alabama is in Cover 3. With the wheel from the slot receiver taking the outside corner’s eyes, the outside receiver can slip into the weak point of the zone, which is up the seams. The switch here is important because it makes sure the slot defender doesn’t carry the outside receiver up the seam, creating a lane for a TD. Pratt sees this defense and immediately gets the ball out and puts it on the receiver to give him the opportunity for YAC.
On another TD Pratt threw, the receiver did a great job of widening the corner before going back towards the middle of the field, and the safety kind of gets lost in the sauce. However, Pratt puts this ball on the money, and immediately notices the busted coverage. Easy money once again for the star QB.
His name gets lost among all the others in the battle for QB3, but Tulane QB Michael Pratt has a legit shot to get that nod. He was dialed in with the deep ball against a very good South Alabama defense pic.twitter.com/xktCId65HA
— JP Acosta (Pug Dederson Stan Acct) (@acosta32_jp) September 5, 2023
Two of his most impressive throws weren’t even touchdowns. This one was on the first play of the game, a slot fade out of empty formation. Slot fade is damn near undefeated now, but Pratt puts this ball on the money with room to run after the catch near the sideline. Super impressive throw.
Finally, this one was very impressive. A three level flood route to the field with the opposite field drag being the checkdown, and Pratt throws this ball with anticipation and extreme accuracy. A seed of a ball, honestly.
Pratt and the Green Wave have the inside track on being the best team in the AAC, but they’re going for more than that. A date with Ole Miss on Saturday should be a good proving ground that the Green Wave are once again a formidable team within all of college football, and Pratt is a large reason why.