WACO, Texas — Last Saturday, Oklahoma’s present quarterback picked up the Heisman Trophy in New York. About 250 miles to the south of Norman, Okla., the next quarterback the Sooners add to the roster mirrored Baker Mayfield’s talent, mannerisms and style.
Tanner Mordecai led Waco (Texas) Midway High School to a 42-28 victory over Southlake (Texas) Carroll in the Class 6A-II quarterfinals. The Panthers are 14-0 and Mordecai is the toast of the town.
“It’s a lot of fun when you get to play with the guys I’ve known my entire life, and we compete, together, on the big stage. You can’t ask for anything more than that.”
It was a typical night for the 4-star quarterback, who committed to the Sooners in June. Mordecai threw for 191 yards and 1 touchdown. He was also the Panthers’ leading rusher with 114 yards and 4 touchdowns on 17 carries.
The remarkable season for the 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior is still going. Waco Midway faces Longview in the state semifinals on Saturday. The quarterback has thrown for 3,796 yards and 47 touchdowns. The rushing total stands at 1,070 yards and 21 touchdowns. Mordecai’s stature seems to rise with every performance.
A bigger version of Baker Mayfield
Waco Midway coach Jeff Hulme no longer wonders why Mordecai didn’t receive more attention in the recruiting process.
Baylor offered the hometown quarterback early. So did Northwestern, North Carolina, Kansas State, Indiana and Illinois.
But it was the Oklahoma offer that Mordecai pounced on. Hulme found that fitting given the Sooners’ current quarterback.
“I’ve told people all along that after watching Baker Mayfield on TV that Tanner is a bigger version of Baker,” Hulme said. “It’s just the personality type. He’s excitable, he’s confident and he’s a great teammate. Then he runs and throws it. He’s just a bigger Baker Mayfield. Oklahoma fans ought to be excited.” (You can check out one of his scoring runs below.)
Some of the comparisons are physical: Both have dark hair and play the game with a certain flair. After Midway running back James Fullbright scored a 1-yard touchdown to give the Panthers a 35-21 lead with 10 minutes left in the quarterfinals, Mordecai celebrates with an uppercut fist pump and then finds teammates for flying chest bumps.
Teammates gravitate to him on the sidelines. He huddles with the offensive line between series. Mordecai is the leader.
“What really separates Tanner and the reason why he’s going where he’s going is because he does it every day in practice,” Hulme said. “He’s the first one in the weight room. At practice, if you’re not practicing at a level he thinks you need to be at, he’s gonna say something to you.”
Sound like someone familiar?
What Oklahoma will get from Tanner Mordecai
The quarterback was recently upgraded to a 4-star prospect. It seems fitting. There isn’t a player in the talent-soaked state of Texas who has been better than Mordecai.
Hulme has a theory for why it took so long.
“Is he dual-threat guy? Is he a pocket passer?” Hulme wondered. “I think he can do both. He’s the dude.”
But he fits in perfectly with Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley wants his quarterback to do. Yes, the ability to throw from the pocket is the top priority. Mordecai can make every throw. But the ability to make something happen when plays break down is essential as well.
Mordecai’s touchdown pass last Saturday was very reminiscent of Mayfield. The early reads were covered. He scrambled to his right around then lofted a perfect 29-yard touchdown pass to Demarcus Degrate in the end zone.
“He’s Baker 2.0,” fellow 2018 commit Jaquayln Crawford said.
It’s a comparison Mordecai doesn’t mind.
“It’s obviously pretty cool when you’re getting compared to him — the best player in the country by a mile,” Mordecai said.
Mordecai will sign in the December signing period. There hasn’t been any waver in him since pledging over five months ago.
“It’s a dream I’ve had for a very long time,” Mordecai said. “I can’t wait to sign with the best school in America.”
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