Tulane’s 2022 season was magical, as the Green Wave won 12 games, the AAC Championship, and the Sugar Bowl in a comeback against USC. What more can you ask for?
For a short time, Tulane fans worried head coach Willie Fritz would be courted away by Power Five suitors, including Georgia Tech. Instead, Fritz decided to stay with the Green Wave.
Quarterback Michael Pratt, who blossomed from a respectable passer into an NFL prospect and possible long-shot Heisman Trophy candidate, is also returning. Pratt was phenomenal in 2022, throwing for 27 touchdowns and just five interceptions. The right-handed quarterback also added 478 rushing yards and 10 scores on the ground.
Pratt’s return makes Tulane a top AAC contender again in 2023, especially with Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF leaving for the Big 12.
It’s easy to be impressed watching Pratt play, as he makes smart decisions and does well to take care of the ball. Pratt only has 21 interceptions thrown over three college seasons, in which he’s fired nearly 1,000 passes. He limits mistakes, which is always a plus, and he showed big-play ability throughout the 2022 season.
Pratt averaged 7.1 and 7.3 yards per attempt in 2020 and 2021, respectively. In 2022, Pratt averaged 8.9 yards per pass attempt.
He throws a beautiful deep pass, which makes him extremely challenging to defend given his consistent decision making. Pratt can stretch the field vertically, but he also does well to avoid forcing throws. He makes intelligent reads, forcing defenses to defend every receiving option on the field adequately.
Pratt isn’t Justin Fields as a runner, but he showed an ability to rush effectively in 2022. He’s not a statue in the pocket, and he’s plenty capable of scrambling for a first down. At times, his running looks similar to Taylor Heinicke, who used his legs well during stints as the Washington Commanders’ starting quarterback.
At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Pratt also has size that will likely impress NFL scouts. If he performs well again in 2023, Pratt could skyrocket up draft boards ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft. At the very least, Pratt’s experience, size, and production make him a strong developmental candidate at the NFL level.
If Tulane wins out in 2023, the Green Wave could be a darkhorse candidate to make the College Football Playoff. A lot needs to go right for that to happen, but the Green Wave enter 2023 as one of the top Group of Five teams in the country.
Non-conference games with South Alabama and Ole Miss should help bolster the team’s strength of schedule. The regular season finale with UTSA could feature a matchup of ranked teams with AAC title hopes, and it may help determine which Group of Five team makes a New Year’s Six bowl.
Tulane’s schedule is challenging, but not brutal. Road matchups with Southern Miss and Memphis will be tough, but facing South Alabama, Ole Miss, and UTSA at home is a major boost. If Pratt plays to his potential, Tulane will be a handful in the AAC yet again in 2023.