BEAVERTON, Ore. — One look at Tanner McKee and you see pro-style quarterback. At 6-6 and 220 pounds, he has the height to see over any offensive line and the size to stay in the pocket. He can make a deep throw, but more importantly, he seems to have a good sense of touch on his passes. He also has a 4.2 grade-point average, so he won’t have a difficult time figuring out a complicated playbook.
Seeing him make all the throws at Nike’s The Opening, it’s understandable why recruiting sites list him as a pro-style or pocket passer. The thing is, he’s been running the read-option offense at Centennial (Corona, Calif.) pretty effectively.
“I feel like (Corona’s offense) has been a benefit because it has allowed him to display his athleticism,” said his father, Jeremie McKee, who played basketball at BYU. “If you watch film, he can move and pick up yards with his feet.
“Other than the long wordy plays, they are still doing everything a pro style offense does at Centennial. All the components of a pro-style offense are there.”
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He led the Huskies to an 11-2 record last season and their losses were by a total of three points to IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) and St. John Bosco (Bellflower), the state Open Division Bowl champion. He threw for 3,652 yards and 36 touchdowns, but he also ran for 539 yards and 15 touchdowns.
“I think I’m built like a pro quarterback, but I’ve been running Centennial’s system for a while now, so I feel pretty comfortable with it,” he said. “I feel like (The Opening) exposes me to the pro style, and I think that will be beneficial to me in the long run. Everything at Centennial is fast-tempo, get the ball out quick. This is more take your time and make the progression and reads.”
One thing he won’t be exposing himself to is too much sunlight. The first two days at The Opening, he wore a giant safari-style bucket hat.
“My hat? I’m just try to stay out of the sun right now,” he said.
Last June, a mole on the top of his head turned out to be melanoma skin cancer. To play it safe, doctors at UC-Irvine excised the melanoma and took out lymph nodes in his neck. His father said the surgeon was particularly careful because the nodes were close to the nerves that are needed in the throwing motion.
Once Tanner awoke from the surgery, the first thing he did was swing his valuable right arm to be sure everything was OK.
He’s the top rated uncommitted quarterback in the 2018 class. He has 25 scholarship offers and plans to narrow down his favorites in a few weeks and commit before the end of Centennial’s season. At some point during the school year, he said he plans to take official visits to Washington, Texas, BYU and Alabama.
Whoever lands him will have to wait an extra year as he plans to take a two-year LDS (Church of Latter-Day Saints) mission. That could benefit him as well as he just turned 17 in April and is one of the younger quarterbacks among the top recruits.
“Proximity is important in a college, but I want him to be around coaches who make him a better person and a better player,” his father said.