Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt embraces growing team role, potential for NFL future

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Michael Pratt

Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt was far from a household name when he opened the 2022 season. You did not see him in any Top 50 rankings among starting signal-callers by the majority of analysts.

However, the native of Boca Raton, Fla. quickly proved he was deserving of far more attention in that season in which he set multiple career highs, single-game records and was a key element in the great turnaround in college football history based both on optics and literal mathematics.

Once under the radar, Pratt is now considered one of the top quarterbacks in the college game. In his eyes, nothing has changed. It’s simply a matter of perception for those who either didn’t notice him as he toiled in relative obscurity or incorrectly gave credence to the quarterback wins stat.

“It’s not necessarily a weird thing,” Pratt said. “I think in terms of rankings and stuff, a lot of that is dependent on your wins and losses. So you could have the best year, but if you lose every game, you’re not going to be talked about. The fact that we did really well in 2022, I had some factor in there, but, I don’t think that jump from 50-100 was a major individual improvement. In terms of year, by year, if you look at that stats, I’ve progressively come along. That’s something that’s going to continue this year.”

One of the biggest things that stuck out from the numbers was Pratt’s soaring passing yardage from year to year. He finished out 2022 – his third season as a starter – with 3,010 passing yards on 338 attempts, a 63.6% completion rate, 27 touchdowns and five interceptions.

“I think we’ll be a little bit more of a pass threat moving forward. I think we’ve got some really good receivers this year and we’ve got to replace the loss of Tyjae (Spears). We’re going to have to throw the ball a little bit more.”

Purely as a passer, Pratt sees his improvement but knows there is room for more. Quarterback accuracy starts from the ground up, and lower-body mechanics are the heaviest point of emphasis. Along with mental processing, a quarterback must have the body and mind work together at peak efficiency.

“I think footwork-wise, I’m understanding the offense and being in the offense for two years with Coach Nagle has been a huge bonus,” Pratt said. “Being on the same page with him and knowing what he’s looking for. I think better footwork has led to improved accuracy and I’ve been getting the ball out faster and more on time.”

Mentally and intangibly as well, Pratt has only gotten better by the year.

“I think the biggest thing I can improve now is mostly knowledge-wise and seeing defenses and knowing what to expect,” Pratt said. “Meshes with the running backs and the timing on different routes and throws.”

Looking forward to the fall, Pratt is ready for his talent through the air to take center stage for the Green Wave. Tehs ame can be said for Tulane’s loaded corps of wide receivers that has shown much improvement over the past few seasons.

“The (wideouts have) looked great,” Pratt said. “I think (Jha’Quan Jackson and Lawrence Keys III) have continuously gotten better throughout the years and then the new guys that came in. I think Dontae (Fleming) had a really good spring. He showed a lot of really good stuff. Chris Brazzell, if he puts some more weight on, I think he’ll be unstoppable next year. Having a target like him at X-receiver is gonna be really beneficial for us and having Bryce Bohanon has brought a lot of consistency.”

His responsibilities at the line of scrimmage are also set to grow. Success during plays is often cemented pre-snap.

“I think we’re gonna do a lot more stuff that’s on me,” Pratt said. “Last year, we leaned on the wristband a lot, had a lot of choice plays where we’d have two different plays and see what the defense was doing and call one or the other. A lot of those checks this year will be leaned on me.”

Pratt reset his single-game passing record three times last year with a high of 394 yards in the AAC Championship Game win over UCF. The Tulane offense rightfully leaned into a high-level talent like Spears, a star running back who could take over game. It’s easy to envision how Pratt passing ability could have been even more on display if he was demanded to put the ball in the air more often.

“I don’t think it necessarily affected me,” Pratt said. “I think he made our offense dimensional in all phases. Having such a threat at running back, defenses had to adjust to that and I think we had a good pass threat, too. When you have a good run threat and good pass threat, it’s hard for a defense to can in on one aspect of the game.”

Pratt projects as a rising pro talent who has already played in numerous offensive systems under several play-callers. He’s already garnered interest from multiple NFL teams.

How Pratt helps the Green Wave in its attempt to run it back after a dream 12-2 season and how his effort to climb up NFL draft boards progresses will provide a couple of the best Tulane storylines to keep watch over in 2023.

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Crissy Froyd

CCS Columnist

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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.

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