TCU may be without quarterback Max Duggan for much of the 2020 season.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson told reporters Thursday that Duggan, who started as a freshman in 2019, was recently discovered to have a health condition. Patterson did not provide specifics, but said Duggan’s condition — which he has had his whole life — was found recently thanks to the increased health protocols in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Duggan has had the undisclosed condition his entire life, Patterson said, but it wasn’t discovered until recently with TCU ramping up its testing protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Because of all the things we had in place, Max has a condition that he’s had his whole life and we caught it,” Patterson said. “Right now, he’s in a good place and hopefully he’ll be getting back some time during the season. Right now, we’ll be going forward with the rest of the quarterbacks. It’s a thing he was born with and I’m just glad we found it; I can say that.”
On Sunday, Duggan tweeted that the condition uncovered was related to his heart and he has already “had the necessary procedure” and is “on the road to recovery.”
I appreciate all the support I’ve received this week. Thanks to precautionary COVID-19 testing, I learned about a heart condition that I’ve had since birth. I’ve already had the necessary procedure and am on the road to recovery. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers. Go Frogs! 🐸— Max Duggan (@MaxDuggan_10) August 23, 2020
Duggan has not practiced much during preseason camp, but Patterson is hoping he can return at some point during the season. For now, he is out indefinitely. Duggan, who started 10 of the 12 games he played, threw for 2,077 yards, 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2019. He also added 555 yards and six scores on the ground.
It’s a significant blow for TCU, which is sorely lacking in experience elsewhere on the depth chart. Patterson said Matthew Downing, a former walk-on who began his career at Georgia, has been receiving first-team reps in Duggan’s absence. Downing played in four games in 2018 at Georgia, completing 8-of-10 passes for 88 yards. He redshirted in 2019, his first season at TCU, and enters the 2020 season as a redshirt sophomore.
The Horned Frogs also have Stephon Brown, a junior college transfer, and Eli Williams, a true freshman, on scholarship at quarterback. Brown threw for 1,430 yards and 16 touchdowns and ran for 546 yards and eight scores at Independence (Kansas) Community College last fall. Williams, a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder out of Sapulpa, Oklahoma, was rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.
TCU is scheduled to open its season at home against SMU on Sept. 12 before opening Big 12 play against Iowa State on Sept. 26.
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