Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today, we talk the latest with a 5-star quarterback from California.
How will Mormon mission impact Tanner McKee’s recruitment?
Tanner McKee may spend his next two years nearly 8,500 miles away from the continental United States, but that hasn’t stopped college football powerhouses coast-to-coast from going all in on his recruitment.
McKee, a 4-star quarterback from Centennial High School (Corona, Calif.), will do a two-year Mormon mission after graduating from high school, which effectively makes him a 2020 college football prospect.
He doesn’t know where he’ll spend the next two years of his life — he will find out a few months prior to the start of his mission — but he has an idea of where he’d like to go.
“My dad (Jeremie) did his in New Zealand, so I think that would be a really cool place,” McKee told SEC Country.
McKee’s focus on his trip won’t be on playbooks, depth charts or winning football games, it’ll be on serving others and showing people how Jesus Christ can help them in their lives.
But the question is how will 247Sports’ No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2018 still prepare for his future in college football? First of all, he believes he’s going to fall a little out of shape.
“I’ll be pretty busy almost the entire time,” McKee said. “I won’t be working out much. I’ll have one day a week for a preparation day where I could lift, run or throw routes. So, I’ll have only one day a week where I can do that stuff.”
That day likely won’t be on Sundays. McKee chooses to not compete on that day because Latter-Day Saints members believe Sunday is the Sabbath and that day should be kept holy. When McKee attended the Elite 11 competition in California last month, he sat out on Sunday, risking his invitation to the final event in Oregon this month. He ended up getting invited to The Opening Finals but sat out events that Sunday, as well.
He won’t be changing his mind on competing on Sundays as long as he has complete control over that.
“I feel like whenever you make a commitment, you have to stick to it no matter what,” McKee said. “My commitment was that I wasn’t going to compete on Sundays as long as I could control that, and in high school football, I do. So, I’m not going to compete on Sundays.”
The Polynesian Bowl commit knows that won’t be possible if he makes it to the NFL, but he says he’ll do whatever it takes to get to some church in the city he’s playing in that day.
When he gets to college, he knows he’ll be busy with football and school, but he’s already looked up LDS institutes in the cities of the schools he’s considering — Tuscaloosa included. Institutes are where LDS members can take classes to continue learning about their faith.
“They have an institute program in Tuscaloosa,” McKee said. “I have already talked to Coach (Nick) Saban and Coach (Brian) Daboll about it. They’re totally on board with the mission thing. They really have been great about it.”
All of the schools recruiting McKee have been understanding of his religious beliefs and understand his unique situation, he said. McKee mentioned Alabama, BYU, Texas and Washington as some of the schools he’s currently interested in. He did say that he hasn’t put much thought into a top 5, although he’s planning on narrowing down his recruitment before the season starts and the plan is to commit somewhere after his senior season.
He will not sign a letter of intent before he leaves for his mission, so, technically, any school will be free to recruit him until he enrolls in college in 2020. McKee has discussed all of this with Alabama.
“Saban said he doesn’t care if I go or don’t,” McKee said with a laugh. “As long as I come back and I’m ready to go, then it’s all good.”
McKee visited Tuscaloosa in March and at the time, he said he could “absolutely” see himself playing for Alabama.
Not much has changed since then. The Crimson Tide staff has been in constant communication with him, as Daboll usually talks to him every other day. His experience in Tuscaloosa during that visit is still fresh in his mind, and he’s planning on taking an official visit this fall for the LSU game.
“We watched a practice there and everything was super precise,” McKee said. “Every foot and every step had to be perfect. Everything there reminded me of Centennial, so it felt good.”
The 6-foot-6, 220-pound prospect makes sense for Alabama’s quarterback commitment in this class because the Crimson Tide’s current young depth at quarterback won’t matter to him by the time he enrolls in school. He’s my pick to be the team’s QB commitment.
Matt Corral no longer visiting Alabama
Matt Corral, a 5-star quarterback from Long Beach (Calif.) Poly High School, told SEC Country at The Opening Finals that he was going to visit Alabama on July 21 for the team’s invite-only cookout. He was high on the Crimson Tide because of Daboll.
It seems like that’s totally changed out of nowhere in about a week’s time.
According to Tom Loy of 247Sports and confirmed by SEC Country, Corral will now visit Florida on July 21 and 22 after the Gators officially offered him. He’ll then visit Georgia a few days later. Those are the only two schools he’s planning on visiting.
So, why the change? Well, let’s just say, this likely isn’t football-related. We’ll leave it at that.
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