Grayson McCall set for next-level breakout season in 2022
The only part of my McCall prediction that I'll have to adjust is the year in which he is drafted
I made a bold prediction in early 2021 that Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall would be “the next Zach Wilson”. Based on watching every play of his 2020 season and a detailed dig through his recruitment as a small North Carolina community’s second fiddle prospect behind Sam Howell, I believed then that McCall had all the talent and commitment necessary to become a Heisman trophy candidate and a top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Many months later, I only have to make one adjustment: The 2022 Heisman race and the 2023 NFL Draft.
Perhaps the only difference now is that I will have a lot more company when it comes to boarding the Gray-hound hype train. Though I wasn’t the only person to take notice of Coastal Carolina’s shocking 11-1 season in 2020 (the Chanticleers entered the season picked to finish last in the Sun Belt) or McCall’s impressive stats (69% completions, 10 Y/A, 26 TD, 3 INT), I may have been alone in my proclamation that he’s a future college and NFL star.
When I was hyping up McCall as the type of quarterback and person you could build an entire franchise around back in April, it was hard to find other websites or people who were even aware that Coastal had a quarterback. He didn’t get mocked in the draft by anyone even though other true juniors like Howell and Spencer Rattler were constantly being bandied about as the next “Baker Mayfield” or “Patrick Mahomes”. I found one 2023 mock draft that did have McCall in the first round, but that was the only one.
As of right now, NFL Mock Draft Database is listing Grayson McCall as the top quarterback—and number two overall player—of the 2023 draft class based on a consensus big board.
Now, I have no idea why Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud are listed so low, but it may have something to do with the fact that they will only be true juniors in 2022. Or why Malik Cunningham, Phil Jurkovec, and Kedon Slovis would be ahead of them. What I am interested in is the fact that Grayson McCall is getting respect as an NFL prospect at all because that was not the case given my experiences of covering his college career.
And few others in the world seem to have been as interested in covering McCall as I have been.
Entering with much higher expectations in 2021—as well as giving opposing defenses a whole universe of tape to study that they didn’t have in 2020—Grayson McCall reached and exceeded expectations, albeit with two starts missed because of an injury. McCall made his second career bowl game appearance on December 17th against Northern Illinois, and he proved once again that the Chanticleers are far better with him than without him:
22-of-30, 315 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT, 40 rushing yards in a 47-41 win.
So far in McCall’s two-season career, he is 20-2 as a starter, with nine instances of throwing three or more touchdowns. Backup Bryce Carpenter made two starts, throwing for 85 yards on 20 pass attempts in his first game, then losing to Georgia State in his second. Carpenter had two touchdowns and one interception on 49 attempts over those two games.
For anyone who might have been thinking that McCall was simply the lucky winner of a lottery to play for rising star head coach Jamey Chadwell, it’s looking more likely that Chadwell is the fortunate one to have landed a commitment from the 6’3, 210 lb McCall. That should result in a lot more people being eager to see what Coastal Carolina and McCall have in store for the 2022 season, especially given Desmond Ridder’s CFP appearance with Cincinnati on the horizon.
With no love from Heisman voters this year, McCall led the NCAA in yards per attempt, adjusted yards per attempt, and passer rating. He is fifth in completion percentage but I believe makes lower-percentage throws than most of the quarterbacks in his vicinity for that category. McCall is also an expert of the option offense and his ball-handling skills would be a valuable addition to just about any offense with hopes for better read-option or play action execution in the future.
McCall, 2020: 172/250, 69%, 2,488 yards, 10 Y/A, 11.5 AY/A, 26 TD, 3 INT, 184.3 rating
McCall, 2021: 176/241, 73%, 2,873 yards, 11.9 Y/A, 13.6 AY/A, 27 TD, 3 INT, 207.6 rating
But since McCall’s redshirt sophomore season kind of came and went with little national attention, he can still become the next “Zach Wilson”, even if “the next Zach Wilson” seems to skip a generation; I wouldn’t expect there to be that kind of hype around any quarterback prospect in 2022. In 2023, I’d look for Bryce Young to be the number one overall pick, but why shouldn’t we expect McCall to continue on his current trajectory, once again leading the country in many key categories and potentially giving Coastal Carolina an undefeated season in just their sixth year at the Division-I level?
Coastal’s record in their first three years was 13-23.
Coastal’s record with McCall: 20-2.
The team that passes on Grayson McCall in 2023: 0-forever.