TCU’s Duggan Declares for NFL Draft


TCU quarterback Max Duggan. | Image by Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

Texas Christian University quarterback Max Duggan announced on December 19 that he will forego his final year of college eligibility to enter the 2023 NFL Draft.

Duggan was the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2022 and had a breakout campaign that has the Horned Frogs prepping to face Michigan for a shot at a national title.

Duggan announced his decision and tweeted, “Forever. Go Frogs.”

Duggan has faced long odds throughout his college career. He came to TCU from Council Bluffs, Iowa, as a four-star recruit out of high school. Playing under former head coach Gary Patterson, Duggan amassed 5,920 yards passing in his first three seasons.

At the end of his junior year, TCU parted ways with Patterson and brought in former SMU head coach Sonny Dykes. Dykes informed Duggan he would no longer be the starter for the team only the second time they had met.

According to Dykes, Duggan told him that he would be “the best backup quarterback in the nation,” a role he could have avoided by entering the transfer protocol. Instead, the decision to stay at TCU was a fortuitous one.

Week 1 starter Chandler Morris went down with a serious knee injury, and Duggan was called into action. Whether it was the demotion that fueled his drive or something else altogether, Duggan went on a career-setting tear in 2022, passing for 3,321 yards and nearly doubling his career-high touchdown numbers with 30 on the season.

As if getting told that you are on the bench to start the season was not enough of a challenge, Duggan’s trials and tribulations run well past the impact of the game. In 2020, during a routine COVID screen, Duggan was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect that required emergency surgery.

Duggan was able to battle back from the operation to retake the field in 2021. Following that season, TCU revealed that Duggan had been playing with a broken bone in his foot through most of the season while still hitting completions on nearly 65% of passes.

Recognition for his performance this season has come by way of the Davey O’Brien award and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award, becoming the first player in TCU history to win either award, let alone both in one season. Duggan was also named to second-team Associated Press All-America honors and is the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year for 2022.

It is a good thing that Duggan is used to long odds and finding a way to overcome them. Current draft boards indicate that Duggan —despite his accomplishments in 2022 — is currently sitting in a position to be taken near the end of the 259-player selections or potentially fall out as an undrafted free agent.

Qualities that draft experts point out in Duggan’s favor are his physicality and grit, his ability to hit deep and touch passes, and the opportunities he brings as a dual-threat quarterback. His overall size and a tendency to hold the ball for too long while taking too much time to analyze a defense have been cited as weaknesses.

Duggan has announced that he will play in the Fiesta Bowl against Michigan on December 31. The NFL Draft is currently slated to begin on April 27 and conclude on April 29, 2023.

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