FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Max Duggan hasn’t really had time to reflect on his career at TCU, where the four-year starting quarterback’s last snap came in the national championship game. The Heisman Trophy runner-up also didn’t stop pitching as he prepared for the NFL combine and draft.
The beloved TCU quarterback, who has been training in Southern California since just days after the national title loss, returned to Fort Worth Monday night for the presentation of the Davey O’Brien Award, whose namesake is the only The school’s Heisman Trophy winner, leading the Horned Frogs to an undefeated season and their only AP national title in 1938.
“It means so much to our program, to TCU, because obviously we understand what Davey O’Brien did for TCU, what he did just for college football,” said Duggan, the first TCU player to win the award given annually to a top quarterback. “There is so much pride in what he has done for our program, to build it and set a milestone for TCU programs to strive for.”
While Duggan and the Horned Frogs lost an imbalanced national championship game to Georgia, they tied a school record with 13 wins as they beat Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl semifinal game of the College Football Playoffs.
“I probably haven’t even thought much about what happened this season,” he said. “Obviously we are disappointed with what happened in the national championship game. … But that doesn’t take away from the special season we had as a schedule, to be able to share it with the players, the coaching staff, our fans, the City of Fort Worth and TCU. People will remember this season for a long time.”
Even though he still had one more season of eligibility available after starting 43 games for TCU, Duggan decided after lengthy conversations with his family and head coach Sonny Dykes that the time was right to make himself available for the NFL draft. He graduated from TCU business school in December.
Duggan was in the Senior Bowl and is now among several prospects working in California with former NFL quarterback Jordan Palmer. NFL play begins next week, ahead of TCU’s pro day at the end of March and the draft at the end of April.
Most draft projections have Duggan as a late pick on the third and final day. This doesn’t bother him.
“You just have to have a team who, you know, fall in love with you, who like your game, like you as a person, what you do on and off the pitch. And I think that’s what really matters in my eyes,” she said. “I understand that I’m not one of the best.”
Four former Big 12 quarterbacks have started games in the NFL playoffs this season, including both Super Bowl starters: MVP Patrick Mahomes of champion Kansas City Chiefs and Heisman Trophy runner-up Jalen Hurts for NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles. The others were selected in the seventh round last year.
Former Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson started a playoff game for Miami. Former Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy, the last player selected in the draft, was San Francisco’s starter as the 49ers got to the NFC title game.
“I’ve been able to compete the last couple of years with Brock, Skylar and Jalen. To see them succeed, you see what kind of league the Big 12 is,” Duggan said. “I think you’ve seen them, if they’re sort of picks near the end of the draft, they seem to be successful, so it’s been fun to watch them.”