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Third-round NFL draft pick Matt Corral certainly has a competition on his hands as he begins his NFL career as a member of the Carolina Panthers, with quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield ahead of him on the depth chart.
It’s a competitive situation Corral wishes he would have had in college, instead of taking the “easy way” at Ole Miss in order to play right away.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Matt Corral runs drills during rookie minicamp at the Panthers practice field in Charlotte, N.C., on May 13, 2022. (Alex Slitz/Lexington Herald-Leader/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
“I’m going to take this back to where I decided to go to college,” Corral told reporters on Tuesday. “I took the easy way because I felt like I could play right away. And knowing what I know now and trusting my instinct and trusting my work ethic, I would have went to a place that would have made me compete.
“With that being said, the best of the best, they want competition. And I think for this [quarterback] room, it’s going to be a great competition because we’re all competitors in that room, and we all understand what the job is to get done. And we’re going to do it,” he continued.
Corral played in four games during his freshman season at Ole Miss before using his redshirt. He was the starter for the next three years, with two of those years being under head coach Lane Kiffin.
Ole Miss Rebels quarterback Matt Corral was up before the Allstate Sugar Bowl between the Ole Miss Rebels and the Baylor Bears on Jan. 1, 2022, at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Corral had a breakout junior season, throwing for 3,349 yards and 20 touchdowns in leading the Rebels to a 10-3 record.
On Wednesday, Kiffin was asked about Corral’s comments on ESPN’s “First Take” and said that Corral texted him to tell him that his comments did not come off the way he intended.
Ole Miss Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin addresses the media during the SEC Football Kickoff Media Days on July 18, 2022, at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
“Matt immediately texted me after that to say that’s not what he meant by it,” Kiffin said on Wednesday. “And that he actually was in a competition here. He’s a rookie in the NFL. He’s not going to say everything right and he’s not going to throw everything right. Especially in his first year. I’m sure he’d take that back. We’re in the time where there’s not much going on in the media. So, like I told him, it’s a run for 48 hours. No one will even remember it.”
The Panthers traded a third-round and a fourth-round pick in order to move up in the draft to acquire Corral.
Joe Morgan is a Sports Reporter for Fox News.