For the first time in over three years, Tanner Mangum will suit up to play in a meaningful football game.
To those familiar with BYU Football and the LDS church this comes as no surprise. Many players (in fact a large majority of them) will go from top-ranked recruits to relative anonymity as they leave football for two years to serve missions. Even BYU fans have to be reminded that yes, it's this season that we'll get to see that stud linebacker out of Las Vegas or that much ballyhooed wide receiver from Texas.
A lot of what BYU fans (and college football fans in general) remember most about Tanner Mangum was his impressive performance at the Elite 11 quarterback camp in the summer of 2011. Other BYU players had participated in this camp before (most notably Jake Heaps) but none put on the display or garnered the respect of the coaches quite like Mangum. At the end of the week he was awarded the camp's MVP award which he shared with two players.
While Tanner took time off to serve a mission, the rest of the Elite 11 embarked on their college football careers. All of them held scholarship offers to P5 football programs and had every indication of success.
Four years later, the collection of Elite 11 quarterbacks have experienced their share of ups and downs. With these players experiencing everything from season-ending knee injuries to suspensions due to arrests to a national championship season, it's safe to say that their collective careers have been quite the mixed bag.
So where exactly are these guys now? Let's take a look.
Chad Voytik - Junior - Pitt - Projected starter in 2015
Chad's career at Pitt has been fairly consistent while the coaching staff around him has not. Voytik committed to Pitt back when Todd Graham was at the helm. After he bolted for Arizona State, Paul Chryst took over for the next couple of years. A few months ago Chryst took the job at Wisconsin and now former MIchigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi is at the helm. Now in his junior season Voytik hopes to build off of a respectable 2014 campaign where he threw for 2233 yards, 16 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
Shane Dillon - Left football to pursue basketball
Less than a year into his career at Colorado, Dillon decided to leave Boulder and head back home and play basketball at the University of San Diego. According to this CBSSports.com article Dillion's true love was basketball (a sport he played since he was 4) and that the playing college football at the highest level was more his father's dream than his own. After having posted on Twitter that he was going to USD, he was unable to attend due to academic issues and ended up at Cuyamaca College. After one season there he once again posted to his twitter account that he was going to return to the state of Colorado to play basketball for Metro State but there is no record of him making the team. Moral of the story? Don't tweet about going to a school unless you REALLY plan on going there.
Zeke Pike - Left Murray State after being arrested for drug possession
Here's a player that bounced around to a few different schools only because he couldn't stay eligible. Out of high school Pike signed a letter of intent to play of Auburn but was dismissed from the program in June 2012 after being arrested for public intoxication. He then transferred to Louisville where he sat a year and eventually converted over to playing tight end. Following another alcohol-related charge Pike packed his bags once more and headed for Murray State. Last week, on August 19th he was arrested on drug possession ending his playing days at Murray State.
Austin Appleby - Junior - Purdue - Projected starter in 2015
No dramatic journey here for Austin Appleby who looks to retain his role as the starting quarterback for the Boilermakers. After redshirting his freshman year, he saw limited action in a 2013 campaign and started the final seven games of the 2014 season. There are no indications that Austin will be the next Drew Brees but he'll look to build on a respectable sophomore season.
Neal Burcham - Junior - SMU - Recovering from ACL injury
Talk about a guy that can't catch a break. After beating out Texas transfer Garrett Gilbert for the starting job in 2013, Neal's 2014 season was cut short by a right elbow injury. Coming into spring ball of 2015 he was once again expected to take the reigns but then suffered an ACL injury in February. It's too bad because the Mustangs are sure to throw the ball around quite a bit with Chad Morris taking the head coaching gig in Dallas.
Jameis Winston- Competing for starting job with the Tampa Bay Bucs
We all know what happened to Famous Jameis. The incredible freshman campaign, fourth quarter comebacks, Heisman trophy and national championship. It's too bad that he had to couple that with alleged sexual assault, stolen crab legs and profanity laced outbursts on campus. Of all the players on this list, none of them met as much success and turmoil as good ole Jameis.
Jeff Lindquist - Junior - Washington - Front runner in competition for the starting job
After a couple of years playing the backup role to Keith Price and Cyler Miles, Lindquist is in a prime position to win the starting job. He actually started the first game of the 2014 season against Hawaii due to a one game suspension of Miles. In that game, which was head coach Chris Petersen's first at Washington, Jeff only completed 10 of his 24 pass attemps but still came away with the win. The reports out of fall camp give rave reviews to newcomers Jeff Browning and K.J. Carta-Samuels (brother of the former Wyoming / Vanderbilt QB) but Lindquist looks to have the job all but locked up.
Zach Kline - Junior - Indiana State - Competing for starting job
The tricky thing about being a highly touted quarterback out of high school is that when these guys arrive on campus, there are two or three other guys who have resumes that are just as impressive. After redshirting his freshman season he was in a tight race for the starting QB spot with true freshman Jared Goff at Cal, Kline was beat out by Goff and saw limited action in the 2013 season. After seeing the writing on the wall, Kline pulled the reverse Aaron Rodgers and transferred from Cal to Butte College where he was able to play immediately. This season he finds himself in Terre Haute looking to win the starting role for Indiana State. Interestingly enough the first game of the season for ISU will be against Purdue where Kline will face off against fellow Elite 11 camper Austin Appleby.
Chad Kelly - Junior - Ole Miss - Competing for starting job
The full story on this guy is a long one so bare please bare with me. I'll just say this guy must be next-level gifted because he's received more second chances than just about anyone, besides Jameis Winston. Before entering the college ranks Chad was suspended from Red Lion HS in Pennsylvania for seven games before being dismissed from the team.
After winning two state championships with another school Buffalo, he committed to Clemson and redshirted his freshman year in 2012. Then things started to go south. He tore his ACL in the 2013 sprint game and in the following spring game of 2014 Chad got into a heated argument with head coach Dabo Swinney. Apparently it was not the first time Kelly showed volatile behavior because he was eventually dismissed from the team. A few days later he ended up in East Mississippi Community College where he lead the team to an undefeated season and national championship.
Ole Miss offered Chad a chance to return to D1 football and he committed to play for them on December 10th, 2014. Eleven days later Kelly was arrested for a late night altercation in which he allegedly fought with police and punched a bouncer in the face. Either he made a deal with the devil or Ole Miss really doesn't give a damn about who they let onto their team, because Kelly was still able to enroll and is in a good position to start the Rebel's opening game against Tennessee - Martin. Based on Kelly's talent and checkered past, I think it's safe to say that there will be no shortage of drama this season in Oxford.
Bart Houston - Junior - Wisconsin - Competing for backup position
The redshirt junior has seen very limited action in the last two seasons (2 completions of four passing attempts for 14 yards) but things started to look up when Paul Chryst came back to Wisconsin to fill the head coaching vacancy made by Gary Anderson. Chryst had originally recruited Houston to the program and many thought that Bart was in a position to be QB1. However the get some playing time if Stave struggles early the same way he did last year.
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Of this group, five are projected starters in the 2015 season, two are no longer playing football, one is sidelined with an injury, one more has been named a backup and another is playing in pre-season NFL games. Then there's Tanner Mangum. Will he find immediate success like his camp co-MVP Winston or will he get stuck in a slog of quarterbacks like many others?
We'll just have to wait and see.