Mostly as soon as Tanner Mordecai was on the transfer portal on Sunday, he was contacted by SMU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley. Riley is, of course, the brother of the head coach whose Mordecai program has just left – Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma.
SMU was a school he already had in mind and which he targeted to some extent before entering the portal.
Mordecai, along with the university football world, has just finished watching striker Shane Buechele refuse to lose his place in the rotation in Texas and become a top SMU. For this 12th quarterback from Oklahoma, the draft was there and it was ready.
“SMU is a really good place. That made a lot of sense to me, ”Mordecai said Dallas Morning News. “They have a lot of guys coming back. It’s down the road where I’m from. I like the city of Dallas. SMU offers a really good academic opportunity. Dude, that really made a lot of sense in a lot of different ways. “
Mordecai spent three years in Oklahoma, and the last two as a reserve member for various starters. The former four-star recruit announced his freshman title in red, but was effective when he played for the Sooners, completing 50 of 70 passes. He’s capable of leading the ball, but that wasn’t a big part of his arsenal.
It is unclear whether the Waco resident will still have to file a waiver request to meet the 2021 requirements. In January, they will enroll in SMU for the spring semester and participate in spring internships, if they occur.
Mordecai said there were no serious feelings toward Oklahoma, although he will not be available for the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 30.
“I got stuck behind a guy who was younger than me and who was starting out,” Mordecai said. “And I have the ability to start and really be successful somewhere else. And I wanted to go chase my dreams somewhere else and I knew I could do it. And I know I have the talent, the drive, everything else to become a starter. That was my plan. ”
Mordecai seems like a reasonable start for 2021 for SMU. Without Buechele, the only viable returnee to the game was former walker Derek Green. And there is, of course, the new phenomenon of Preston Stone. It makes sense for SMU not to have to rely on him right away as a beginner, giving him a year to transition.
It is still possible that there is some kind of competition for the initial role in 2021. And what will become most interesting are the years to come. Mordecai has three more years left. Stone will have four of them, or five if red shirts. Mordecai said SMU coaches did not discuss long-term plans for the position during his hiring.
“My obvious plan is to come and play and start,” Mordecai said. “Why would my way of thinking be anywhere else – well yeah, that’s mostly what I’m getting into.”
Before Mordecai committed, head coach Sonny Dykes said Stone’s enrollment in January would give him a better chance of playing than the typical freshman freshman. He compared the situation to a potentially similar situation to former quarterback Jared Goff, who also coached Dykes. Goff came in as a fourth-wire option and was a starter until the first game happened.
“[Stone] has maturity, has makeup. But you just have to see, you don’t really know how it’s going to play out, ”Dykes said last week, before hinting that the program could look for a quarterback on the transfer portal.
And then, four days later, Mordecai entered the portal, the day after the Sooners won their sixth consecutive Big 12 title. Shortly afterwards, it was determined that the team would not play in the playoffs for College Football.
“I think he’s ready to be a starter,” Lincoln Riley told reporters Sunday after Mordecai entered the portal. “He had good competition while he was here. … But he is a great young man … a terrible defender and he will make someone very happy. “
Mordecai coach at Waco Midway High School, Jeff Hulme, said he still thinks his former quarterback has the ability to run the ball, even though he hasn’t worked that much in Oklahoma.
To that end, he added that he thinks Mordecai is capable of doing everything that Oklahoma Red T-shirt champion Spencer Rattler showed in 2020.
“[Mordecai’s] the will to win is probably the best I’ve ever seen as a coach, ”Hulme said,“ and I’ve been coaching high school football in Texas for 28 years. “
That someone graduated from SMU, hoping to be struck by lightning twice with highly rated quarterbacks who have never had a chance at other larger, somewhat local schools. Mordecai had an offer from SMU in his initial employment, but he also had offers from 14 “power five” programs. At the time of his offer, SMU was probably the least announced program that gave him the opportunity.
Three years later, all the dynamics have changed. And for Mordecai and SMU it seems to match perfectly.
“I’m just a competitive guy,” Mordecai said. “I like to win, I am a team from a team, a leader. What really stands out to me is how competitive I am on the field and what I bring to the table every day. “
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