One of college football’s breakout stars in 2019 was Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan as the Golden Gophers had one of the best seasons in school history. What to expect this year? Here are two props available to wager at Mybookie on Morgan’s Heisman Trophy chances and Minnesota’s 2020 college football season – assuming there is one – and an overview.
Tanner Morgan Heisman Trophy Odds & Analysis For 2020 Season
Morgan originally attended Hazard High School in Hazard, Kentucky before transferring to Ryle High School in Union, Kentucky prior to his junior year. As a senior, he passed 2,747 yards and 27 touchdowns.
He originally committed to Western Michigan to play for head coach PJ Fleck, but when Fleck was hired at the University of Minnesota, Morgan followed Fleck by decommitting from Western Michigan and committing to Minnesota. Morgan was ranked the No. 3 quarterback in Kentucky for 2017 by Scout.com.
Morgan’s cousin, Tim Couch, played for Kentucky from 1996-1998 and spent five seasons (1999-2003) in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft.
Morgan redshirted his first year at Minnesota in 2017. He entered 2018 as a backup to Zack Annexstad but took over as the starter for the final six games of the season. In his first NCAA start against Indiana, Morgan completed 17-of-24 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns
Morgan finished completing 89-of-152 passes for 1,401 yards (second most ever for a Gopher freshman) and nine touchdowns (tied for third most all-time for a Minnesota freshman with Annexstad).
Last year, Minnesota finished 11-2 after upsetting No. 12 Auburn in the Outback Bowl. Morgan completed 19-of-29 passes for 278 yards, two touchdowns and an interception vs. the Tigers. Both of Morgan’s touchdown passes on the afternoon went to Tyler Johnson.
Morgan started every game last year and set school single-season records for passing yards (3,253) and passing touchdowns (30). He also set school single-season records in completion percentage (66.0%), passing yards per game (250.2), pass efficiency rating (178.7) and touchdown-interception ratio (4.28).
Morgan’s most memorable game in 2019 was vs. Purdue when he was 21-of-22 (95.45%) for 396 yards and four scores. His 95.45 completion percentage was the highest in Big Ten history for any player who attempted more than 15 passes. His 396 yards tied for the seventh most in school history (Bryan Cupito also had 396 against Ohio State in 2005) and were the most for a Gopher since Adam Weber threw for 416 yards (third most in school history) against Michigan State in 2009.
Pro Football Focus graded Morgan with a 89.4 passing grade in 2019, which ranked eighth best in the country. Morgan was stellar and now he has his entire offensive line returning. He will miss Tyler Johnson, Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks, but there’s still a lot of pieces to help sustain this 2020 offense.
Fleck believes there’s another step to Morgan’s game and thinks he could be the program’s first drafted quarterback since 1972 (Craig Curry to the Dolphins in Round 8). Morgan has good size and perhaps room to grow at 6’2″, 215 pounds. He has put on about 20 pounds after coming in as a 205-pound freshman in 2017.
“He’s so gifted on and off the field,” Fleck said. “If there’s one guy outworking everyone else in the country, it’s that guy. I can’t say that for a fact, but if I had to bet everything I have on that, I would.”
The Golden Gophers are coming off one of their best seasons in school history. They won 11 games for just the third time ever, as well as posting double-digit wins for only the second time since 1905. This season, Minnesota opens on Sept. 3 vs. Florida Atlantic.
Since moving to the FBS, Florida Atlantic is 1-33 all-time vs. Power 5 schools … but that win was over Minnesota in 2007. FAU is 0-22 all-time vs FBS Top 25 opponents.