Eagle High School
Tanner Mangum, who has verbally committed to play for BYU, was named the Elite 11 camp co-MVP Friday along with Neal Burcham of Greenbrier, Ark., and Jameis Winston of Hueytown, Ala.

MALIBU, Calif. — Tanner Mangum was named the Elite 11 camp co-MVP Friday along with Neal Burcham of Greenbrier, Ark., and Jameis Winston of Hueytown, Ala. In a separate set of awards, the Elite 11 camp counselors named Mangum as their lone MVP.

Being named an Elite 11 quarterback, let alone an MVP, marks the culmination of a lot of hard work.

“I’ve been working very hard on preparing myself, as hard as I’ve worked for anything in my life, and it paid off,” said the Eagle, Idaho, quarterback. “It‘s been great finding that work ethic in me, and it paid off at the end. I know that I can have similar success going forward if I work as hard as I did this week.”

Mangum entered the final day with the No. 1 ranking, according to his family, and did nothing to give up the spot with a dominating workout. His single set during 7-on-7s saw him complete six of his nine passes for 50 yards and a touchdown. His three incompletions were all on target but dropped by the receivers.

While some assumed Mangum would be named the lone MVP of the camp, Mangum said that he didn’t mind sharing the award. “Not at all," he said. “Both of them earned it and worked as hard as I did, so I’m happy to share it.”

Leading up to the final ceremony, Trent Dilfer said that 22 of the current 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL passed through the Elite 11 camp. It’s a top fraternity to be a part of, let alone standing as one of the fraternity’s top performers for 2011.

“Any of us that were here this week, any of the 24 participants can hold their head high as one of the top quarterbacks out there,” said Mangum. “Any of the 24 could have won the award. I was fortunate to have had a good week and to perform well, but all of these guys are the best of the best, and it’s an honor just to be one of them and part of this great fraternity.”

In being named camp co-MVP, Mangum joins current Cougar starter Jake Heaps, who won the award back in 2009. It’s something that he’s been very aware of for a while and is hoping that it’s the beginning of a trend.

“It’s awesome that I can join with Jake (Heaps) in being an Elite 11 MVP,” he said. “I hope that this will help people understand that BYU is a special place, where top players can go and be successful. I hope that it’s something that continues here, having great quarterbacks here that are going to play for BYU.”

When Mangum first committed to BYU back in early April, there was some excitement from fans. He was largely judged an above-average commit who had a solid career ahead of him.

After setting the field on fire at several national camps, culminating with his MVP run at the Elite 11, Cougar fans couldn’t be more excited about his future prospects.

“I’m glad that they’re excited, I’m very excited to have represented here well for them,” he said. “I want to continue doing that.”

So is Mangum the same quarterback who committed back in early April, or are fans and the nation just realizing his true talents for the first time?

“I think I’ve just tried to do the same things that I’ve always done,” he said. “I just knew that if I kept playing my game that I’d get there. I’ve definitely improved, we all have, but it’s just great knowing that it’s all paid off. It’s been an incredible learning experience for me.”

What Mangum feels helped set him apart from the other Elite 11 participants was his accuracy and his overall knowledge of the game.

“On the field, accuracy is obviously very important,” he said. “It’s something I pride myself in being accurate and making the right throws and making the right decisions. Off the field, it’s about being a leader. It’s about being poised and being confident and getting your teammates confident. As a quarterback, you’re the ultimate commander of the troops, so I really pride myself as being a good leader both on the field and off of it.”

Mangum will be striving to become a leader on a different field upon his graduation from high school as he plans to leave straight for an LDS mission. Upon his return, he plans to pick up right where he left off.

“It’s important to take what we learned here and to get even better in all parts of our game and in our lives, and it’s something we all aim to do,” he said. “We’re Elite 11 quarterbacks, and that means a lot. It’s a great fraternity to be a part of, and it’s our job to represent that fraternity well.”

Wilson wins counselors' ‘best release’ award

Utah commit Travis Wilson was not named an Elite 11 finalist, but nevertheless had a great week and is taking a lot from his week of work.

“I obviously wanted to be named as one of the top 11, I think I was right there, but it’s just an honor to be named as one of the top 24 guys,” he said. “All of us are holding our heads high out of this camp no matter what we won or where we were ranked.”

In winning the award for best release, it shows a trait that not many 6-foot-6 quarterbacks have.

“I have real long arms, obviously, longer than most, so it’s something I’ve worked real hard on, and it’s great to be recognized for that,” he said of his release. “I’ve shortened it a lot, and it’s something I’ll continue to work on to get better.”

Wilson will now complete his final year at San Clemente, graduate early and then compete for a spot at quarterback at Utah starting in January.

“I can’t wait for all of it,” he said. “I feel so much more confident with my game now than I did a week ago. That’s what this camp was all about. Awards are nice, but it’s about how we improved as individuals, and I can tell you that I improved quite a bit.”

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney