Tulane QB Pratt eyes continued growth, healthy campaign in 2023
Tulane football enters the 2023 season looking to repeat the same type of success it had when the Green Wave completed a turnaround from 2-10 to 12-2 in an unforgettable way in 2022.
And it’s something that looks plenty possible for a multitude of reasons. The continuity provided by Willie Fritz remaining the head coach, Slade Nagle’s promotion to offensive coordinator following a strong 2022 season calling plays and the retention of key players like center Sincere Haynesworth and standout quarterback Michael Pratt are all causes for excitement.
In particular, Pratt may be one of the top 10 returning starting quarterbacks in the nation for the upcoming season.
Looking ahead to next year’s draft class and who the top signal-callers are in the cycle, there’s no reason why Pratt can’t work his way into being an early round pick. When he has solid offensive line play and a capable supporting cast around him, the Boca Raton, Fla. native has been highly productive. On top of this, Pratt enters spring camp in what he says is the best physical condition of his career after playing through injury for multiple substantial stretches in his time as the Green Wave starter.
“I think this is the healthiest I’ve ever felt,” Pratt said this week. “I weighed in at around 225 the other day, so I think I’m a lot stronger than I’ve ever been. My body feels a lot better. I think I’m moving really well, so just being able to be more physical, run faster and be able to extend plays and stuff like that is something I’ll be able to add on this year.”
Looking back at the statement Pratt made as a passer and how he was able to also make an impact on the ground last season, he was the only Group of 5 quarterback with at least 25 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns. It becomes that much more impressive now that he’s revealed he was playing with what he described as a very painful fracture to his heel sustained in the 10th game of the season – a 38-31 loss to UCF.
“That was kind of a lingering injury. Something that I could play through. It was painful but I think the only real concern was if it was going to get worse because it was right in my heel where the Achilles (tendon) attaches,” Pratt said. “I didn’t want to continue cracking all the way down and then my achilles just rip that whole bone off. That would have been about a year of recovery. So, they did a great job of just managing it. I actually didn’t really practice the whole week of the conference championship game, which was difficult. It’s hard to sit out. But we did another MRI, X-ray and what not about two weeks ago and everything has come back really good.”
Pratt says he didn’t really have a choice but to grit through it and that adrenaline was a huge factor that kept him going down that final stretch that proved incredibly important.
“I don’t think there would have been much that would have stopped me from playing,” Pratt said.
An injury like this is important to note because of how it affects lower-body mechanics, the aspect of quarterback play most directly tied to accuracy. One of the first things any experienced quarterback trainer will tell a layperson is that accuracy “starts from the ground up” and any type of lower-body injury will make that much tougher on the player. The Tulane quarterback was already successful in that category as he upped his completion rate from 58% to 64% while resetting his career high for passing yards in a game multiple times last season. Now he looks continue to build upon his development even further nowwhile hoping to remain healthy.
Moving forward, Pratt is excited for the opportunity this team has to run it back.
“It still doesn’t really feel weird and it’s still kind of weird. But we’re past it and we’re focused on this next season. I feel like everyone is kind of moved on and we’re excited about what we can do this year… After this season, we showed what we could do… we have all the talent, we have all the tools we need to reciprocate and do the same thing again.”
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Crissy Froyd is a sports reporter of roughly nine years who graduated from LSU and has spent time at USA TODAY SMG, NBC Sports and the Fan Nation network on Sports Illustrated. She specializes in quarterback analysis and covers the SEC and college football across the state of Louisiana in addition to working with several college quarterbacks across the nation.