Setting the Stage
Ryan Tannehill grew up in west Texas playing high school football and basketball and running track. He played defensive back as a sophomore before switching to quarterback. In two seasons, he threw for 7,768 yards and ran for 1,519 yards. He also played some wide receiver and punted. In track, he participated in jumping and running hurdles. His best performances can in the triple jump and the 300-meter hurdles. He was lightly recruited after high school, being ranked as a three-star dual threat quarterback by both Rivals.com and 247Sports. He accepted a scholarship to attend Texas A&M.
Tannehill red-shirted his first season and then finished third in the quarterback completion as a second-year freshman and was moved to wide receiver. His position was successful as he had 844 receiving yards. He still wanted to play quarterback, but again lost out and moved back to wide receiver where he led the Aggies with 46 receptions for 609 yards and 4 TDs. It was not until mid-way though his junior season when he finally got the opportunity to play significant downs at quarterback. His success helped his team to be ranked in the top 25 and he earned Big 12 Honorable Mention honors, despite playing for only half the year. Finally, as a senior, he started all 13 games and served as Team Captain. He passed for 3,744 yards and 29 TDs and also ran for 306 yards and scored 4 TDs.
Tannehill’s draft stock rose quickly even though he had little experience playing quarterback at Texas A&M. His athleticism and potential was the primary factor. In a draft with lots of solid quarterback prospects, he was the third one taken at 8th overall after Andrew Luck 1st and Robert Griffin III 2nd. Brandon Weeden was the 4th one drafted in the first round. Brock Osweiler in the second round and Russell Wilson in the 3rd round give the 2015 NFL Draft quite a talented group of quarterbacks.
Tannehill’s selection by Miami should not have been a surprise as his college head coach, Mike Sherman left Texas A&M at the same time and became the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator. Sherman felt like Tannehill was a perfect fit for the offensive game plan and even though he lacked experience, he was familiar with Sherman’s offense.