Deep Dive: Look into career of new QB Tanner Mordecai

Since he took over at head coach, Luke Fickell has completely changed the culture of the Badger football team. By bringing in coordinators like Phil Longo and Mike Tressel as well, Fickell has made Wisconsin a far more intriguing option for athletes.

Longo’s “Air Raid” offense in particular has been a huge bonus in the Badgers’ favor this offseason and has helped the team reel in talent from across the country.

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One player they have gotten via the transfer portal is former SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai. Mordecai will use his final year of eligibility to join the Badgers in 2023 and he’s a current frontrunner to be their next signal caller.

Here’s how the field general’s career has stacked up on his way to Madison:

Midway High School (Waco, Texas): 2015-2018

Apr 12, 2019; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Tanner Mordecai (15) scrambles to pass during the spring football game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Mordecai spent three seasons as the starting quarterback for his high school in Waco, Texas. Starting his sophomore season through his senior year, the 6-foot-2 athlete put up some impressive numbers both through the air and on the ground over 35 games.


Passing Yards: 5995

Passing TDs: 63

Completion Percentage: 59.5

Rushing Yards: 1861

Rushing TDs: 31

His spectacular high school career ended up landing him a scholarship from Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Sooners: 2018-2020

Oklahoma’s Tanner Mordecai (15) drops back to pass during the Red River Showdown college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Texas Longhorns (UT) at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020.

Mordecai spent three seasons with Oklahoma football, but he was never really given the reigns as the team’s quarterback. Sitting behind the likes of Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts and Spencer Rattler, he was limited to just 12 games of action during his time with the school. Mordecai was also never really able to show his ability as a dual-threat under center with the Sooners.


Passing Yards: 639

Passing TDs: 4

Completion Percentage: 71.4

Rushing Yards: 2

Rushing TDs: 0

SMU Mustangs: 2021-2022

Sep 17, 2022; College Park, Maryland, USA; Southern Methodist Mustangs quarterback Tanner Mordecai (8) rolls out to pass during the first quarter against the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Leaving Oklahoma following the 2020 campaign, Mordecai found his home at SMU. The quarterback paired up with head coach Sonny Dykes in 2021 and finally found his rhythm at the collegiate level. Mordecai would become the Mustangs’ starting quarterback heading into his junior season and go on to have a very impressive two-year career with SMU. Although Dykes went on to appearing in a National Championship with TCU at the end of 2022 campaign, Mordecai remained very impressive in his senior season under new coach Rhett Lashlee and in the end he was able to put together some eye-popping stats over 24 contests with SMU over two seasons.


Passing Yards: 7152

Passing TDs: 72

Completion Percentage: 66.4

Rushing Yards: 302

Rushing TDs: 4

Russell Wilson 2.0?

Nov 26, 2011; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Russell Wilson (16) runs with the ball as his team plays the Penn State Nittany Lions at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin defeated Penn State 45-7. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Badgers brought in an established starter via the transfer portal was when they got Russell Wilson in 2011. Wilson went on to throw for 3175 yards and 33 touchdowns while adding 338 yards and six scores on the ground in his one season with Wisconsin following a three-year career at NC State. In his one season with the team, Wilson produced the best QB performance in Badger history and led the squad to a Rose Bowl appearance versus TCU.

Could Mordecai repeat the success of Wilson in 2023? We’ll just have to wait and see!

Story originally appeared on Badgers Wire