Former Carolina Panthers head coach fumbles the bag with No. 1 QB prospect

Matt Rhule
Matt Rhule / Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Former Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule missed out on landing the top high school quarterback prospect entering the college ranks in 2024.

Matt Rhule's time with the Carolina Panthers was an unmitigated disaster. Team owner David Tepper made a monumental error by handing him a megabucks contract and the final say on personnel decisions, which brought one cataclysmic failure after another over a disastrous three-year spell with the organization.

Thankfully, everyone has now moved on. The level of professionalism surrounding the Panthers under head coach Frank Reich and general manager Scott Fitterer is a refreshing change of pace, with Rhule also managing to land on his feet with a lucrative deal as Nebraska's main man.

Rhule's methods go down far better with impressionable youths than with grown men who've already reached the very top. However, this was not enough for the program builder to secure the country's No. 1 quarterback prospect in the 2024 recruiting class.

An initial report stated that Dylan Raiola was set to officially visit Lincoln on June 24, according to Brady Oltman from Hail Varsity Radio. Just 24 hours later, the high school phenom spurned Rhule's advances and committed to the two-time defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs, instead.

Just why this commitment happened so soon after a report surfaced about visiting Nebraska is unclear. Perhaps it was just coincidence, or maybe Raiola did a quick Google search on Rhule's track record with quarterbacks in recent years.

Raiola was also rumored to be considering USC after de-committing from Ohio State with Caleb Williams bound for the NFL in 2024. But it's clear from a statement via ESPN his heart now lies with the Bulldogs in a move that could cement their dominance for years to come.

"The substance behind [Georgia's] success is the biggest factor. Coach [Kirby] Smart has built this program to last, and I'm excited and honored to be a part of it. Whether it's in the classroom, on the field or in the weight room, I know I'll be pushed to be my best every day."

Dylan Raiola via ESPN

This is a blow for Rhule, but he'll be fine one suspects. His silver tongue and salesmanship will ensure that - even if getting another NFL coaching opportunity is an absolute pipedream after turning the Panthers into a laughing stock.

If nothing else, Rhule's time in Carolina made fans appreciate the great years gone before and relish what's to come with Reich leading the charge. Even when Steve Wilks masterminded a quick turnaround, the departed coach tried to take credit and offered zero accountability for the team's failings.

Raiola seems like a smart kid. Given the options available, he was correct to go in a different direction with proven credentials rather than promises and delusions of grandeur.

I'd say Panthers fans wish Rhule nothing but the best, but that would be a lie. So this news was probably met with great humor from most sections of the fanbase.

Can't think why.

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