BYU starting quarterback Tanner Mangum said he knew he would be back on the field for the start of the 2018 season soon after going down from his serious Achilles injury that ended his 2017 campaign.
“Very early on I had that goal to just get healthy,” Mangum said. “It’s great to be back.”
The senior quarterback started just eight games last season before sustaining the injury that would lead him to sit out for the remainder of the season and require off-season surgery. Blake McMullin, a fan who attended the game against Utah when Mangum left the field injured, said he sensed BYU fans’ concern when their quarterback went down.
“You could tell that there was an immediate feeling of concern amongst the crowd,” Blake said. “There was a feeling of sickness as well not only because Tanner went down, but also because we lost to the Utes.”
The Eagle, Idaho native helped lead the Cougars to a statement win over the Arizona Wildcats to start their 2018 season, even after a season-ending injury, surgery and months of physical therapy.
Taking care of the body and mind has been something Mangum has focused on during his tenure at BYU, often being a spokesperson to raise awareness for mental health. On April 3, 2017, Mangum posted on Instagram about his own battles with mental health. The 25-year-old commented on the struggles he faced during his rehabilitation after the game against Arizona.
“There were obviously times, the moments, where you feel frustrated, you feel discouraged, because it is a long road to recovery,” Mangum said. “I knew all along that I would get through it. I didn’t ever give up. I didn’t want to relinquish that hope, that faith, and I just did my best to keep pushing and keep fighting.”
Long-time voice of the Cougars Greg Wrubell offered his thoughts on the expectations he has for Mangum’s final season at the helm of the Cougars offense.
“I expect Tanner to have an excellent season,” Wrubell said. “He has worked hard to rehabilitate, regain his playing form, and get his body in shape to withstand the rigors of a season while increasing his mobility. I think all of his experiences will culminate with the kind of performance we’ve come to anticipate from BYU’s fine senior quarterbacks in the past.”
Boasting a quarterback rating of 138.8 during his performance in the Cougars’ 28-23 win against Arizona on Sept. 1, Mangum now looks to continue his recovery-success story in each game and throughout the rest of his senior season. Mangum will take the field against the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison, Wisconsin, on Sept. 15.