Dr. Saturday

Tulane names freshman QB Tanner Lee starter

Tulane is coming off its first winning season since 2002, but it won’t be starting the 2014 season with the quarterbacks that helped achieve that feat.

Coach Curtis Johnson announced Monday that redshirt freshman Tanner Lee would be the Green Wave’s starting quarterback when they opened the season against Tulsa on Aug. 28, making him the first freshman to be Tulane’s opening day starting quarterback since Tommy Hightower in 1976.

“Tanner Lee is our starting quarterback,” Johnson said in a statement released by the school. “He’ll start this year and I think he’ll have a great season and a great career. Devin Powell played well and so did Nick [Montana] but I think Tanner is our guy. He’s got a strong arm, command of our offense, great leadership skills and doesn’t make many mistakes.”

It was a strange turn of events for Montana, who started 11 games for the Green Wave last season and completed 53.4 percent of his passes for 1,717 yards, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He threw for 171 yards and three touchdowns against UTEP to assure the Green Wave their first winning season.

And when things went south for Montana, Powell was there to step in. He threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns in an overtime win against East Carolina and helped the Green Wave to its all-important sixth win in a 14-7 victory against Tulsa.

But history meant very little for Johnson who was looking toward a future with Lee at the helm. Lee redshirted last season, but had an exceptional prep career and had shown enough during the first week of fall camp to be declared the starter.

“Right now, Devin Powell is our No. 2 and Nick is our No. 3,” Johnson said. “It’s still a competition. It’ll be an on-going competition, but that’s how our depth chart is set. When we get to our first game, that’s how it’ll be.”

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter!

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