BYU football: Tanner Mangum hopes to join the short list of successful returned missionary quarterbacks

Published: Monday, July 2 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

"I remember telling Tanner that he was as good, if not better, than any quarterback in the country and that he'd now have a chance to compete against the best that coming summer at Elite 11 camps," said Doman. "I told him that I expected him to beat them.

"It's not the same as football, obviously, but I wanted to lay out a competitive situation for the kid and then see how he prepared and then how he competed. And you know what? He ended up doing pretty danged good."

Indeed, Mangum came away from the Elite 11 camp with MVP honors, proving to Doman and everyone else that he could come out on top against the very best in a highly competitive environment.

"You see a lot of guys get back from their missions and they just lose it for whatever reason, but I'm confident that won't happen with Tanner because I've seen him rise to the top when given difficult situations and I expect he'll do the same after being away for two years," said Doman.

"You never know for sure how a kid will come back, but Tanner loves the game and I have great confidence that he'll be fine."

Being away from football for two years while serving a mission certainly isn't an entirely negative prospect — far from it, in fact. Doman feels that the positives Mangum and others can obtain over those two years greatly outweigh any negatives.

"The tradeoff — with all the leadership skills, the maturity level and everything else — I'd trade that in every time for what you can potentially lose over those two years," said Doman. "You just can't substitute what you can gain over the course of a mission and what you come home with. It can be absolutely huge for our players and has proven to be a huge benefit to this program."

Still, there is risk. It's one, however, that Mangum is more than willing to take.

While one might assume that Mangum stewed over his decision to serve after his football prospects rose, that wasn't the case.

"Fortunately, I decided when I was young that I was going to serve a mission, so before I had all of these opportunities to play in college I already had the goal of going on a mission. It's not something I really thought about not doing," said Mangum.

"It's going to be hard, but I know that I'll be blessed for it and I know it's the right thing to do, so it's not a decision I've ever really struggled with."

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

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