Tanner Morgan Drafted by USFL Team


Minnesota Gophers quarterback, Tanner Morgan, is trying to play professional football in 2023 and beyond. On Tuesday afternoon, that dream got a lot closer to reality when he was drafted 8th overall in the 2023 United States Football League (USFL) College Draft, by the Michigan Panthers.

The USFL’s inaugural season played every game at Protective Stadium, in Birmingham, AL. In 2023, the Panthers will play their home games at Ford Field, in Detroit; the same field used by the Detroit Lions of the NFL. The 2023 USFL season begins on April 15 and games will be televised on FOX and NBC. The Panthers play their first game Sunday, April 16 on NBC vs the Houston Gamblers.

Tanner Morgan + Michigan Panthers

Michigan finished 7th (of 8) in the USFL’s first season. Morgan should have every opportunity to earn the starting job. Shea Patterson, who played his college football at the University of Michigan, held that role last season, after being drafted #1 overall in the league’s first collegiate draft.

Things didn’t work out between Patterson and the Panthers and he was released 7 weeks into the season. The Panthers currently have two QB’s listed on their roster. Those quarterbacks are Eric Barriere (25-y/o – Eastern Washington) and Josh Love (26 y/o – San Jose State). He’d better catch up fast, though.

Morgan is from Kentucky but he did plan on living in Michigan, after committing to PJ Fleck’s Western Michigan Broncos, while in High School. In fact, Tanner had his bags packed and was getting ready to leave for Kalamazoo back in December 2016, until Fleck called him and offered a chance to move with him to Minnesota; an offer he immediately accepted.

Roller Coaster Career in Minnesota

Tanner had plenty of highs while in Minnesota, like a historic 2019 campaign (see below). But, he had plenty of down moments, as well, and he struggled to find any success without Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman to throw to.

Morgan holds all sorts of passing records at the University of Minnesota, including:

  • Season Passing Yards: 3,253 (2019)
  • Season Touchdown Passes: 30 (2019)
  • Season Completion Percentage: 66.9% // 107-of-160 (2022)
  • Season Passing Yards Per Game: 250.2 (2019)
  • Season Touchdown-Interception Ratio: 4.28 // 30 TDs, 7 INTs (2019)
  • Season Pass Efficiency Rating: 178.7 (2019)
  • Season Passing Yards in a Bowl Game: 278 (2019 Outback Bowl)
  • Consecutive Games with a Touchdown Pass: 18 (12/26/18 – 11/13/20)
  • Consecutive Completions: 16 (10/16/21 vs. Nebraska)
  • Career Passing Efficiency Rating: 151.0
  • Career Completion Percentage: 62.2% // 661-of-1,063
  • Career games won as starting quarterback: 33 (of 47 career starts)

The USFL season ends in July. Because Morgan was left off of the NFL combine roster, this is a perfect opportunity for him to showcase his ability to be a legitimate backup option in the National Football League.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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