BYU's Mangum unsure of future beyond 2017, has NFL in mind

Photo of BYU's Mangum unsure of future beyond 2017, has NFL in mind

After waiting patiently to take over the job full time, BYU junior Tanner Mangum hinted Friday he could look to parlay a strong first season as the starting quarterback into a selection in the next NFL draft.

The 6-foot-3 gunslinger spent last year backing up Taysom Hill, but turned heads two seasons ago by putting up big numbers while Hill was injured. He'll head into the 2017 campaign with career totals of 3,618 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions - and a heap of NFL scouts watching.

"I can't answer that right now," Mangum told Jay Drew of The Salt Lake Tribune, when asked whether his future with the Cougars would extend beyond 2017. "This season is a big season for our program, and we've got big goals for ourselves. I do have the goal of playing in the NFL, but I can't (say) when or at what point I am going to try to make that a reality. It is just too hard to tell right now."

Like Hill before him, Mangum will enter his junior season significantly older than most of the players he'll be competing against due to BYU's religious commitments. Even though he's only played two years, Mangum will be 23 years old when the new season begins. The Eagle, Ind., native could get impatient waiting for his NFL opportunity, especially if he puts together a solid campaign in 2017.

"We want this year to be a special year, and we feel like it can be," he said of BYU.

If it goes as planned, Mangum and the Cougars - who'll face LSU, Utah, Wisconsin, and Boise State in the first half of the season - could make a bid for a New Year's Six bowl appearance.

Chatter over Mangum's future at BYU will pick up if that happens. Should he wind up stumbling, Mangum can rest easy knowing he'll be eligible to return for his senior season in 2018.

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