Is Tanner Mangum for real? Or is he just a flash in the pan, another Jake Heaps? I mean Jake Heaps had a great freshman season and looked like he was going to become an all timer at BYU. There are similarities, but there are some major difference that sets them apart.
Mangum and Heaps were both very highly touted recruits that chose to come to BYU. Heaps was the number one quarterback recruit in the nation, Tanner was number three. They both performed well at the Elite 11 camp even though Mangum performed better and was named co MVP with Jamis Winston. Does this mean Mangum is destined to fizzle out and be another Jake Heaps?
The answer is no! The biggest difference between Jake Heaps and Tanner Mangum is leadership. Tanner has leadership qualities and has earned the respect of his teammates. He was the first one to talk to Beau Hodge and tell him to shake off the interception and informed him he did a good job. He told Greg Wrubell:
“I’m just doing whatever it takes to help the team win…we’re all working together. Beau did a great job stepping in.”
Jake Heaps was always worried about the next step. In his minde BYU was just a stepping stone to the NFL. Tanner Mangum went out of the game against ECU and watched the lead he help build dwindle. He couldn’t take it anymore, he had to get back out there and lead his team to victory. He had plenty of stats to say. “Well, I did my part” and move on but he didn’t. Why?
Tanner Mangum is for real that’s why. He exudes confidence and leadership without arrogance. He throws a pick he tries to tackle the player who picked him off whereas Heaps would just watch them run into the endzone. His teammates notice those kind of efforts just like they did with Heaps. Heaps lost that locker room way before he lost the starting job that will not happen with Tanner, because he fights for his team and works hard.
He has amazing talent and makes the extraordinary seem ordinary. He’s just a freshmen that is fresh off a mission. Trust a guy who gained thirty pounds on his mission a mission is not a two year work out session. We are watching him progress right in front of our eyes and he’s making that look easy too.
Mangum has gone from the hail mary kid to doing everything else more efficiently. You can see it game to game. In the UCONN game Mangum ignored Algie Brown on the check down route to throw a deep ball to Mitch Mathews that was picked off. The safer bet was to throw it to Brown for the first and probably more. Against ECU he did the opposite. He went through all his progressions and one of those check down routes he hit Algie Brown for a touchdown run.
This is what we get to watch this year and two or three more. We get to watch the Tanner Mangum legend grow. I will never mention Jake Heaps and Tanner Mangum in the same sentence ever again. Tanner Mangum deserves better than that and will earn more than that. We will be saying Tanner Mangum in the same sentence with Max Hall, Jon Beck, Steve Young, and dare I even Ty Detmer and Jim McMahon. We are watching greatness develop in front of our eyes. Let’s just hope the defense gets built back up so that BYU doesn’t waste such a special talent which is a topic for another day. GO COUGARS