Nebraska QB Tanner Lee declares for NFL Draft

Dr. Saturday
Nebraska quarterback <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/241199/" data-ylk="slk:Tanner Lee">Tanner Lee</a> (13) throws a pass during warm-ups before an NCAA college football game against Iowa in Lincoln, Neb., Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/John Peterson)
Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee (13) throws a pass during warm-ups before an NCAA college football game against Iowa in Lincoln, Neb., Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/John Peterson)

Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee is going pro.

Lee announced Thursday that he will forgo his senior season and declare for the 2018 NFL Draft after his lone season as the Huskers’ starting quarterback.


Lee, who began his career at Tulane and started two seasons for the Green Wave, had an up-and-down year. He was second in the Big Ten with 3,143 passing yards and fourth with 23 touchdowns, but his 16 interceptions were tied for the second-most in the country. He also completed only 57.5 percent of his passes but has the size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) and arm strength that is attractive to NFL scouts. 

Because he was granted an additional year of eligibility back in August 2016, Lee could have returned for the 2018 season to play for new Nebraska coach Scott Frost. However, he decided now was the right time to pursue his NFL dreams. Frost, a former Nebraska quarterback who replaced Mike Riley, played a part in that decision, Lee said.

From Husker Online:

“He mentored me through this process believe it or not. I think he is exactly what you want your coach to be like, as far as being a players coach, because he gets it. He’s been there, done that and it was great for me to talk to another Husker quarterback. A guy that just understands with what comes with the position,” Lee said.

“I was able to talk to him a lot about that. He laid out what he thought was best for him and best for Nebraska. He told me if I wanted to stay, I am more than welcome to stay, and he’d love to have me. He said I’d be his guy and we would roll from there, and I believed him. After that he told me to also do what’s best for me. He can’t tell me what to do what’s best for me, because we didn’t know each other that well. He definitely laid it out for me that he can’t tell me what to do, because it’s up to me, and that he’ll support me either way. He’s got my back, and things like that. Anything I needed to talk to him about, he was comfortable with me calling. He was there for it all, so I really appreciated him for that.”

Lee asked for a grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board, which only gives grades of first round, second round or no grade. Lee told Husker Online he did not get a grade but decided to enter a crowded quarterback class nonetheless.

“I think after the season I had to take some time to kind of hit the reset button and start thinking about what’s best for me and what’s best for my family and their situation, with all things considered,” Lee said.

“I just started to gather information. I waited to talk to Coach Frost, I waited to talk to my family and agents and things like that, and waited to get my grade back from the NFL. After putting together a pros and cons list, I think the best thing for me right now is to go and go after a new challenge.”

With Lee out of the picture, Nebraska has three scholarship quarterbacks entering 2018: sophomore Patrick O’Brien, redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia and true freshman Adrian Martinez. Lee beat out O’Brien for the starting role entering the season, Gebbia was a four-star recruit in the 2016 class and Frost signed Martinez, formerly a Tennessee commit, in the early signing period. Martinez, also a four-star recruit, was rated as the No. 167 prospect in the country for 2017 by Rivals.com.

Nebraska went 4-8 in 2017.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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