Matt Corral gives touching reason for why he didn't opt out of Sugar Bowl

Jonathan Wagner12/31/21
Article written by:On3 imageJonathan Wagner


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Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.

Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral could have opted out of the Sugar Bowl, but he decided to play one final game for the Rebels. Corral will suit up one more time for Ole Miss when the Rebels take on Baylor in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day. When it came to making the decision on whether or not to opt out, Corral said that there was never much of a question.

“I mean, it was just my teammates. … I never questioned it,” Corral said of his decision to not opt out of the Sugar Bowl. “If I was them (Ole Miss teammates), in their shoes and they had a quarterback in the same position … I just couldn’t live with what they would think of me, like just leaving and just being like ‘alright that was the last game’ and nobody knowing that was the last game. The only reason why I say this is because no one really understands how close we really are. It just would’ve been the wrong thing to do, just not playing and just holding out on them.”

Having Corral on the field will be great news for the Ole Miss offense in the Sugar Bowl. Corral put up big numbers over the first three weeks of the season, accounting for 14 total touchdowns in that stretch. He was an early season contender for the Heisman Trophy. Corral battled through injuries over the stretch run of the season, but he still remained an important part of the Ole Miss offense.

Baylor and Ole Miss will kick off at 8:45 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Corral is one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Draft class

Entering the Sugar Bowl, Corral has thrown for 3,339 yards, 20 touchdowns and four interceptions on the year for Ole Miss. He also has 597 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing. Through four collegiate seasons, three of which he was the Rebels’ starting quarterback, Corral has thrown for more than 8,000 yards, 57 touchdowns and 22 interceptions with 1,321 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground.

ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. is pretty high on Corral in the upcoming NFL Draft. Kiper puts Corral firmly into QB1 territory in this year’s draft class.

“Gritty competitor,” Kiper said of Corral. “He played through pain.  He played through injury.  Those guys love him.  He’s a warrior out there for Ole Miss.

“You look at the frame, can he stay healthy is an issue. He can spin it. He can run.  He’s a dual-threat quarterback.  In terms of who is going to QB1 [in the 2022 NFL Draft], Matt Corral is certainly going to be in that mix.”