Ole Miss quarterback—and one of the top prospect for the 2022 NFL Draft—Matt Corral suffered an ankle injury early in Saturday night’s Sugar Bowl. Corral’s leg bent awkwardly on a sack, and he was helped off the field without putting any sort of weight on his right foot. He was eventually carted off, and returned to the sidelines in crutches.
The good news for Corral is that according to Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin, x-rays were negative for the game.
“His x-rays were negative, he just wasn’t able to go,” Kiffin said, adding that this wasn’t the kind of injury that would necessitate any kind of future loss claim through insurance.
Many doctors weighed in on Corral’s injury on Saturday, most speculating that as long as the x-rays were negative, it looked like it may be a high ankle sprain. If that’s the case, it could impact Corral’s ability to test at the NFL Combine and personal workouts, but shouldn’t impact his ability to play in 2022.
Corral was thought of by many as the top quarterback prospect in this upcoming NFL Draft. He finished his 2021 season completing 68.4 percent of his passes for 20 touchdowns, four interceptions and 8.8 yards per pass attempt. His mobility—an attractive part of his game—added 597 rushing yards and another 11 touchdowns.
This news is obviously relevant to the Detroit Lions, who are currently holding the second overall pick and could very well be in the market for a quarterback after the up-and-down season from Jared Goff. However, head coach Dan Campbell said recently that he thinks Goff can be this team’s quarterback of the future.
“Yeah, man, I don’t see why not,” Campbell said this week. “Look, he’s playing pretty good ball now. Shoot, he was coming off his best performance of the season and then, unfortunately, he had COVID and he kinda had the knee injury, so he had to sit out last week. But, yeah, there’s no reason why—I feel like we’re starting to find our rhythm here, and we’re all starting to mesh collectively, from a coaching staff to the players as well.”
Corral’s injury has re-sparked the debate as to whether top NFL Draft prospects should play in “meaningless” bowl games. Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett—also a top draft prospect—caught some flak for skipping out on the team’s Peach Bowl. His backup, however, broke his collarbone in the bowl game he would’ve played in.
But Corral didn’t want to abandon his teammates for the final game of his college career.
“If I was them, 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,” Corral said. “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.”