After undergoing a medical procedure to correct a congenital heart defect, TCU sophomore quarterback Max Duggan was cleared to return to the field for the Horned Frogs last week. Now, indications are that he is a full go, and cleared to practice in pads, meaning he could well play — and start — for TCU Saturday in their season opener against Iowa State.
Max Duggan has been cleared and is an option for TCU when it opens season vs. Iowa State.— Drew Davison (@drewdavison) September 21, 2020
While Patterson has not indicated who will start the ballgame, his announcement that Duggan is an option for Saturday’s season opener would indicate that the sophomore would get the bulk of the reps. Matthew Downing, who was taking the majority of the first team reps with Duggan out, has also missed time (about ten practices) with COVID-related concerns himself.
How the TCU offense will look, regardless of who is behind center, is a big question mark — how It will look with a couple of QBs who have missed significant time this fall is a bigger one. But, ultimately, both Downing and Duggan have shown flashes and are capable of giving the Horned Frogs a chance against Iowa State. Patterson seems confident in whoever trots out for the first drive. “Max has been back for almost two weeks. Downing is here and also Stephon (Brown). So we have all three.” He would not, in typical Patterson fashion, name a starter. “(Duggan is) good, I don’t know if he’ll start. Downing’s been the guy and he’s really thrown the ball really well. We have three quarterbacks, all of them have a part of the package in the game plan and we’ll go forward with it.”
Duggan took over the starting job from Alex Delton during his true freshman season, playing in all 12 games — starting 10 — throwing for 2,077 yards and 15 touchdowns, running for 555 yards and another six scores. He showed flashes of being a freshman and flashes of being a future star, and Frog fans had high hopes for the young gunslinger with plenty of swagger and the talent to match as the future of the TCU offense.
It should go without saying, of course, that the most important part of Monday’s announcement is that Duggan is fully recovered from what could have been a very serious medical issue. Him playing for TCU again, and so soon, is not the best part of today’s news.