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Wisconsin Badgers QB1 Snubbed in Big Ten Quarterback Rankings



Wisconsin Football; Badgers quarterback Tanner Mordecai
Wisconsin quarterback Tanner Mordecai throws a pass during first spring football practice of the season on Saturday March 25, 2023 at the McClain Center in Madison, Wis. Uw Football Spring Practice 9 March 25 2023

The Wisconsin Badgers QB room received a major shakeup during the offseason. UW has had a complete overhaul, with Graham Mertz hitting the transfer portal to Tanner Mordecai, Nick Evers, and Braedyn Locke all transferring in.

Former SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai will likely be Wisconsin’s QB1 this year, as he took first-team reps at spring practice this weekend. The 6-foot-2, 216-pound signal caller stood out for the Mustangs. In his two years with SMU, Mordecai amassed over 7,000 yards and 72 touchdowns.

That kind of production is hard to ignore, but Mordecai was given a very interesting placement among other Big Ten quarterbacks…

Where does Wisconsin Badgers QB Tanner Mordecai rank among other Big Ten signal callers?

Earlier this week, 247Sports released their Big Ten QB rankings, where Mordecai landed at No. 5. Here’s what 247Sports’ Brad Crawford says about Mordecai and his ranking. 

“There’s a reason Wisconsin is picking up measurable dark-horse buzz in the Big Ten ahead of Luke Fickell’s first season. The Badgers went transfer-heavy in their quarterback room following Graham Mertz’s exit, and Mordecai comes to Madison as a decorated player. Mordecai is fresh off a 2022 campaign where he threw for 33 touchdowns at SMU. In two seasons for the Mustangs, the former Oklahoma signal caller totaled 72 touchdowns and 22 interceptions and eclipsed 3,500 passing yards in each campaign. Mordecai had an absurd performance in SMU’s 77-63 win over Houston last fall, throwing for 379 yards and nine scores. He’ll be playing his sixth year of college football in 2023.”

The QBs ranked ahead of Wisconsin Badgers signal caller Tanner Mordecai include Ohio State’s Kyle McCord, Penn State’s Drew Allar, Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa, and Michigan’s JJ McCarthy.

Reaction to Tanner Mordecai’s Ranking

The decision to place Mordecai fifth among Big Ten quarterbacks is a surprise, especially when looking at the signal callers placed ahead of him.

McCord is one of the most surprising. The junior QB did step in for CJ Stroud occasionally over the last two years, as he has amassed 606 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. In fairness, 247Sports did say that his ranking was due to his potential, but ranking the inexperienced QB over a seasoned vet is an interesting choice. 

Allar is another unproven QB who was rated higher than Mordecai. The sophomore signal caller appeared in 10 games for the Nittany Lions and amassed 344 yards passing and four touchdowns. Once again, comparing that to Mordecai’s resume, the ranking seems to be a little high. In defense of the young QB, he is mechanically sound and has a high upside. However, he is unproven, while Mordecai boasts an exceptional record as a starter.

Tagovailoa coming in at second is also a surprise. While he has improved over the last two years, Maryland’s signal caller had a less productive year than his first campaign in 2021. Tagovailoa threw for 3,008 yards, 18 touchdowns, and eight interceptions in 2022. Comparing that to Wisconsin football QB1 Tanner Mordecai, it’s surprising that Tagovailoa was ranked higher.

At the end of the day, these rankings mean nothing. However, that doesn’t make the picks less surprising. Mordecai will have a chance to prove himself this year as the Wisconsin Badgers look to climb back into Big Ten title contention. Under a revamped offense, 2023 could be one of the most exciting years yet. 

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Jake Maier is the managing editor and publisher at He has provided coaching and editorial support to numerous writers in his role, contributing significantly to the platform's growth. His expertise extends to Wisconsin Badgers football, basketball, and recruiting coverage. Jake's previous bylines can be found at Fansided and Wisconsin Sports Heroics.