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PROVO -- BYU landed a critical commitment over the weekend with Boise, Idaho, top quarterback prospect Tanner Mangum. Anytime BYU lands a quarterback commit, it’s big news and considering his resume, it makes the news even bigger.
Mangum is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound prospect and from watching him on film he shows great mobility and a very good arm.
He’ll sign his letter of intent this coming February and leave for his mission service a few months later. Immediately following his mission he'll most likely compete for the starting quarterback spot in 2014.
In committing Mangum the BYU program accomplished several important goals going forward.
Builds momentum heading into summerSince Mendenhall became head coach, the Cougars have committed well over half of their signees during the period just after spring practice ends in mid-April until the season starts during the first week of September. For the 2010 class, they committed an astounding 19 of the eventual 27 signees during that period.
Those that follow BYU recruiting know that June is the new January in regards to when it garners most of its commitments. While a lot of schools are scrambling around for last-minute commits in the month leading up to NLI day, Bronco Mendenhall and his staff have their work already done by-and-large.
The most celebrated commit during the 2010 year was Jake Heaps, who committed to BYU in early June. With the commitment of such a high-profile recruit at the most high-profile position such as Heaps, they were able to build as much summer momentum as I’ve ever seen since I started covering BYU recruiting back in 2003.
Mangum, while not as high-profile as Heaps, was able to garner some very impressive offers from such schools as Boise State, Oregon State, Utah and Arkansas. Had he played not committed to BYU so early in the process, he likely would have received a lot more.
While the amount and quality of offers a recruit receives bears no importance in Mendenhall’s mind, the same isn’t true for most recruits. Most of them that I speak with keep careful track of the players they’ll have the opportunity to sign with and then play with at the next level.
With Mangum already committed, he could help build some Heaps-like momentum heading into the summer months to be certain. Landing a high-profile quarterback prospect helps any signing class and help even more if he commits early as Mangum has.
The true-blue factorMendenhall’s preference would be to turn away prospects before they sign rather than turn them away after they’ve taken up a scholarship spot. His recruiting methods very much match up with the intent on separating those that can not only survive BYU, but thrive in its unique environment. Mangum is exactly that type of recruit. September and into early October weren’t exactly the best times for BYU football this past year. While Mangum always had BYU as his preferred school, the only offer he had in hand at the time was from Boise State. So did BYU see a dip in its appeal during that time from his point of view? “Not really at all,” he responded. “BYU wasn’t playing well for sure, but BYU has great principles and great coaches, those things don’t change. With those things in place, you know they’ll turn it around and continue to be solid. They obviously did and it really didn’t surprise me with the coaches they have there.” Mangum is simply one of those prospects that BYU rarely, if ever misses out on. He was born and raised a Cougar fan with his older brother Parker having recently passed through the program, those ties were made even stronger. Every year, there are a handful of prospects, like Mangum, that are very much BYU‘s to lose before they even begin the recruiting process. These same kids almost always by and large end up signing with BYU, which underscores a huge strength in the program that Mendenhall has seized upon as head coach. They’re kids that grow up not only fully aware of what BYU is, but with a big desire to take part in what BYU is as a school and as a football program. “It’s everything else that BYU is other than just a great football program that are the primary reasons I never wavered in my desire to go there,” explained Mangum.
BYU isn’t like other football programs, not even close. It’s a program that promotes and celebrates the unique aspects of the school along with every precept of the honor code. It helps with attracting many recruits while turning a good share of recruits away.
Simple need at quarterbackThere are some good prospects lined up behind Heaps such as Mountain Crest High’s Alex Kuresa and Jordan’s McCoy Hill, who both should be primed to compete for the starting QB spot once Heaps moves on. But with Mangum, they’ll have at least three seemingly solid options going forward. Mangum will leave for his mission service the summer after he graduates in 2012 and subsequently return two years later just prior to the 2014 season. Will that be enough time to legitimately compete for the starting spot that year? Probably not, the hope is that he’ll compete well for the starting spot soon thereafter.
Heaps isn’t going to be at BYU forever. He’ll be done after the 2013 season and could leave even before that year to go pro if things work out according to plan.
At a glance, Mangum brings a lot of natural athleticism to the position that goes a long well with an above-average arm. He’s someone that could thrive outside of the pocket as well as inside of it which could bring about some further tweaks to BYU’s offense going forward. New offensive coordinator Brandon Doman has made no secret that he plans to fit and adjust his offense around the strengths of his players and especially around the strengths of his quarterback going forward. Couple that with how he played while at BYU along with running backs coach Joe DuPaix’s experience with the triple-option while at Navy and we could very well be seeing an offense that involves running options for the quarterback post-Heaps.
With quarterback talents such as Mangum and Kuresa that could very well be the case. That will all sort itself out in due time, but for right now, BYU’s latest quarterback commit is just thrilled to have the opportunities he’ll have.
“Having the opportunity to play quarterback at BYU is an enormous honor,” Mangum said. “The tradition there with the quarterbacks is incredible and the opportunity to add to that, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Brandon Gurney is the co-founder of totalbluesports.com on the scout.com network which has provided Cougar fans with the best recruiting coverage for their team since 2003. During that time, Brandon has also covered the football team itently as a regular beat reporter.