Tank for Tanner? – Gophers’ QB is a Projected First Round Pick in 2021

Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan celebrated after his game-winning touchdown throw to Tyler Johnson (PHOTO: AARON LAVINSKY – STAR TRIBUNE)

If there’s one thing Minnesotans aren’t very good at, it’s keeping our cool when given any sort of national attention. Recently, Golden Gopher Football Head Coach, P.J. Fleck, has given us a lot of opportunities to practice.

The gophers had five players drafted to the NFL this spring, a new team record. With an improved recruiting classes coming seemingly every year, this may be something we can get used to.

Golden Gopher football is back on the map after a breakout 2019 season. They peaked at #8 in the national rankings, finishing 11-2 including an Outback Bowl victory. Gopher-fever culminated with a visit from College Gameday in the final week of the season, only to lose epically to Wisconsin. Clearly, more practice was needed.

Minnesota’s latest draw from the well of national media attention comes in the form of Gopher quarterback, Tanner Morgan. On Monday, Tom Fornelli at CBS Sports put out a 2021 NFL mock draft, projecting Morgan to be drafted 23rd overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

#24 Overall – Tampa Bay – Tanner Morgan | QB – Minnesota

I love Tanner Morgan. I don’t know if he’s tall enough for Bruce Arians, but everything else about him reminds me of an Arians kind of QB. He has great accuracy pushing the ball down the field.

Peter Fornelli Mock Draft – CBS Sports

(Read MSF’s reaction to Rashod Bateman going 6th overall in a new CBS mock draft here.)

Apparently, Tampa Bay Head Coach Bruce Arians must be a Gopher fan. The Bucs took Tyler Johnson and Antione Winfield Jr. in the 2021 draft, and now, according to Tom Fornelli, they want our quarterback too! Imagine after a year learning from Arians and Tom Brady, seeing Tyler Johnson and Tanner Morgan connect on routes again, but in Bucs uniforms and with the chance knock the Saints out of the playoffs.

Morgan did not have eye-popping numbers in 2019, but he showed remarkable poise and sound decision-making in the biggest moments of the season. He ranked 4th in the nation in the NCAA’s passer efficiency measure, which values completion percentage and yards-per-attempt higher than sheer numbers. This was displayed most clearly during Minnesota’s second-best sports moment of the decade (sorry Lynx…), beating Penn State while going 18-20 with 339 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs.

Despite his talent, Tanner Morgan has not received the hype his wide receivers or defensive stars have. However, now that Johnson and Winfield Jr. have entered the NFL, we can expect a lot more attention surrounding Tanner in 2020.

Believe it or not, no Gopher quarterback has ever been drafted in the first round. Only three have been drafted at all, most recently Craig Curry in 1972, and two other guys who don’t even have a Wikipedia page. The point is, college football media loves quarterback prospects and, for the first time ever, we’ve got one!

I know we’re all freaking out inside, but let’s keep it cool, Minnesota sports fans. Keep it cool.

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