Tanner McKee: The potential to be great

Photo Courtesy of  Tre Anthony

Tanner McKee grew up in a very competitive family. His whole family played football, but he would describe them as more of a basketball family. All of his uncles played Division I basketball in college and one, Brian McKee, even played overseas in Japan for the Toyotsu Fighting Eagles.

Even with basketball running in his family, McKee stuck with football and he made the right choice.

McKee, a 6-foot-6, pro-style quarterback from Centennial High School (CA), started playing football when he was 7 years old when his dad got him started. Everyone in McKee’s family played football, he said, so he wanted to as well.

The four-star Class of 2018 quarterback can do it all on the field. McKee is a well-rounded player that has the size to see over his offensive line, the accuracy to thread the needle and find an open receiver, and the football IQ to see defensive tendencies and make adjustments based on what he sees.

That IQ part doesn’t just happen though; it requires lots of hours watching film and understanding what opposing defenses are doing.

Centennial High School football head coach Matt Logan said that is one of McKee’s biggest improvements throughout his career.

“He’s gotten a lot better at understanding defenses,” Logan said. “He reads defenses very well now, and he always gets in the right direction of the play.”

According to both McKee and Logan, accuracy is his biggest strength, and this gives him the potential to make it big at the next level.

“He’s extremely accurate,” Logan said. “He is still a work in progress, but his potential can still get higher even though he is at such a high level right now.”

McKee threw for 3,522 yards and 36 touchdowns this season, while only throwing 8 interceptions, but Centennial lost to St. John Bosco in the Southern Section Division I semifinal. Last year, Centennial beat St. John Bosco in the CIF Pac-5 Division championship.

McKee also rushed for 539 yards and 15 touchdowns this year. He doesn’t think of himself as much of a runner, but if he needs to pick up some yards with his legs, he is more than capable. That is where his size really comes in handy, he said.

“My size really helps so I can see over people,” McKee said. “If I need to pick up a first down, I can lower my shoulder and sometimes score.”

One thing McKee said he needs to improve on before playing in college is reading defenses and getting through his progressions. The only way to do that, he said, is by getting more experience. The more reps he gets and the different defenses he sees, the better he will get at getting through his progressions.

“As he gets more experience, he gets better,” Logan said. “He needs to always look through his progressions and be able to follow through on his fourth and fifth options. Experience will only help that.”

McKee is only a junior right now so he has some time to decide where he’ll want to play college football, but he does have some things he is looking for in prospective schools.

“I’d want great academics and to work well with the coaches,” McKee said. “I also want a good, very competitive team that likes to win.”

Right now, McKee has offers from BYU, Colorado, Hawaii, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon State and Utah, while also garnering some interest from Alabama, California and Stanford.

He said he doesn’t have a list of his top choices yet because he is staying open for any school. He does, however, know he wants to study something in the medical field, but is unsure of what exactly that will be.

McKee doesn’t know when he will make his decision, and right now he said he isn’t close to picking a school.