It’s hard not to root for Jack Abraham. He’s the prototypical underdog story, just looking for his chance to prove he can perform at this level. He’s been searching for this kind of opportunity for the better portion of the last decade.
Abraham was an under-recruited high school quarterback out of Oxford, Mississippi when he decided to attend the Louisiana Tech. He redshirted as a freshman, and transferred to Northwest Mississippi Community College in 2017 where he proved his worth.
Southern Miss took notice, and the 6-foot quarterback saw success on the field immediately. He led the country in completion percentage in 2018 and threw for nearly 3,500 yards in 2019.
Then came the injuries.
Abraham, a 2020 preseason All-CUSA selection, was off to a solid start again in ‘20 when he decided to opt out midway through the season due to a concussion. It was clear at that point his time at Southern Miss was coming to an end. To the transfer portal he went. He found a home at Mississippi State, and it seemed like a good fit. His playing style was a good match for Mike Leach’s system, and he was expected to compete with Will Rogers for the starting role.
He suffered another concussion during a “freak accident” at a practice in June when a teammate ran into him during a helmet-less drill. Doctors told him he needed 3-6 months to recover from post-concussion syndrome. He never played a snap at Mississippi State.
And now we’re here, with Abraham looking for one last shot to start for an SEC school. Missouri, it appears, will be his last landing spot.
Where he fits: Abraham is an interesting player. He’s more athletic than you would assume, but I wouldn’t consider him a pure runner (103 carries for 454 yards and seven touchdowns at Southern Miss). He flashes a solid deep ball, but it floats on him way more often than you would like to see. His accuracy is solid, but he lacks the zip you would like to see from a high level SEC starter.
He doesn’t really compare to any recent Mizzou quarterbacks. He’s more athletic than Connor Bazelak, he’s not as dynamic through the air or on the ground as Drew Lock, he’s not as good of a runner as James Franklin and he doesn’t have the same accuracy as Blaine Gabbert.
Jack Abraham: Sneaky athletic! #Mizzou pic.twitter.com/08g2ffSTFc— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) May 15, 2022
He’s just... solid? This is the kind of addition you make to improve the floor of your team, not the ceiling. Adding JT or Jayden Daniels would have been to raise the ceiling for the 2022 season. Gerry Bohanon was a better and more proven player than Abraham, at this point in their respective careers.
None of this is to suggest Abraham doesn’t improve the roster. He might. And the addition comes with very little risk. But the previous transfer options seemed to answer the question of who would start in 2022 for Mizzou. Abraham’s addition seems to beg more questions than it answers.
When he’ll play: A player in Abraham’s shoes only transfers somewhere for one reason, and it’s not to sit the bench. He clearly sees an opportunity to play early and often at Mizzou, and it’s hard to blame him.
Jack Abraham's ability to extend plays with his legs is a real weapon for him/his offense. He's not crazy athletic but he seems to have a good understanding for when he should run & when he should keep his eyes downfield. #Mizzou pic.twitter.com/lhnfuM99ls— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) May 15, 2022
Eli Drinkwitz has made it known this offseason with his actions that he’s not comfortable with his quarterback options. Abraham is a solid quarterback. He produced at a high level while he was at Southern Miss and it’s possible he was poised for a breakout campaign if not for the concussions the last two seasons. But he also had his fair share of struggles. He threw 29 interceptions in 27 career games. His 69 percent completion rate is among the best in the sport since 2018, but the RPO-based offense he played in at Southern Miss also lends itself to a higher completion rate.
What it all means: Missouri should finally be done looking at transfer quarterbacks. We can put this saga to rest, and begin a new one. The competition in fall camp should be intense.
Drinkwitz doesn’t make this kind of move unless he thinks Abraham has a real chance to win the job. He’s probably the betting favorite to do so. But I wouldn’t count out Brady Cook just yet.
Jack Abraham throws the ball up for grabs more often than you would like, especially when he sees pressure. He's thrown 29 INTs in 2.5 yrs as a starter. To be fair, it's only a 3% INT rate, which isn't terrible. But it's something worth monitoring. #Mizzou pic.twitter.com/0xVCJFMvSt— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) May 15, 2022
My bet would be on both Abraham and Cook getting reps in the season-opener against Louisiana Tech before Drinkwitz decides on his starter going into the week two game against Kansas State. It’s possible we see some combination of those two for the first month of the season before the decision is truly made, similar to what happened in 2020 when Mizzou opened the year with Shawn Robinson as its starting quarterback before ultimately landing on Bazelak.