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Eagle, Idaho • His friends wanted to play basketball in the driveway, so they persuaded 13-year-old Tanner Mangum to back the red Suburban into the street. He grabbed the keys, shifted into gear and hit the accelerator, as the vehicle lurched forward and crashed into the garage door.

That's the only documented instance in Mangum's life when his nature of plowing straight ahead with unrelenting hopefulness worked against him.

Other events that could have knocked him off course are just checkpoints in his developing story as BYU's quarterback. Known for being a happy child who grew up playing in Boise's Optimist Youth Football League, he seemingly is not bothered by any circumstances, such as breaking his collarbone as a high school junior or being thrust into BYU's starting lineup as a freshman, three months after returning from his LDS Church mission to Chile.

"Ever since I can remember, I've been a positive person," Mangum said. "Some people think that makes me soft, but I'm not soft at all."

Mangum is "a little idealistic," said Paul Peterson, his coach at Eagle High School in suburban Boise. "I say that in a very envious manner."

Now comes another career alteration for Mangum, with quarterbacks coach Jason Beck among the BYU staff members headed to Virginia after Saturday's Las Vegas Bowl vs. Utah. The variables surrounding coach Bronco Mendenhall's successor, concerns about a new offensive scheme (the triple option?) and former starting quarterback Taysom Hill's future converge to create all kinds of uncertainty for Mangum, as he concludes the best season of any freshman QB in school history, with 3,062 passing yards and 21 touchdowns so far.

Whatever happens next, "He'll flourish," promised Scott Criner, his offensive coordinator at Eagle and a longtime family friend. "He doesn't let things get him down. Whoever they bring in, he'll find a way to adapt."

If what's ahead for Mangum is unscripted, well, consider everything that has unfolded since he came home from Chile. Who could have seen any of this coming? His last pass in each of BYU's first two games produced a go-ahead touchdown in the final minute. He closed the regular season with four TD passes in his first in-state game, vs. Utah State. And his freshman year will end with his first Utah-BYU rivalry experience, thanks to an unprecedented matchup in a bowl game.

Playing quarterback for BYU is Mangum's dream job, the one he targeted ever since he watched his brother Parker, who's nine years older, play the position in high school. In flag football at age 9, when other QBs were lobbing passes, Tanner was firing them. "He had a cannon," said his brother Madison, who's three years older and caught passes from him for one season in high school.

Peterson, Idaho State's starting quarterback for two seasons in the early 1980s, still marvels about moments during Eagle's practices when Mangum would make a throw and Peterson would ask Criner, "Did you see that one?"

That arm would distinguish Mangum nationally, but his mind is what everyone who knows him cites first.

"He was making reads at age 10 or 11 that I was making at age 16 or 17," said Parker Mangum, who played one year for Saint Mary's before the school dropped its FCS program. He later came to BYU as a walk-on, moving to receiver because he lacked his younger brother ability's to see the field and make quick decisions as a quarterback.

Tanner was so advanced in elementary school that when Criner once gave him a series of handouts about reading defenses, he called the coach two weeks later and asked for more information.

So nobody associated with Mangum is surprised about his success this season. They just wonder what's next. "I'm just intrigued and curious to see how the next two, three, four years play out," said Parker Mangum, who works for Nike.

If Mangum plays three more seasons for BYU, the opening game of his third NFL season will come Sept. 12, 2021. Remember that date.

As a ninth-grader attending Les Bois Junior High in Boise, Mangum played for Timberline High School's varsity in 2008. He entered the Wolves' season opener in the first quarter and passed for 335 yards and four touchdowns against Kuna, three days before turning 15. The following Friday (Sept. 12), Madison accounted for the bulk of his brother's 369 passing yards and Tanner led a game-winning drive against Skyview.

"I just remember loving it, being so excited for that moment," Mangum said recently.

That feeling took hold again, when Mangum replaced an injured Hill and produced a winning drive at Nebraska, connecting with Mitch Mathews for a 42-yard touchdown on the last play. And then he found Mitchell Juergens for a 35-yard, go-ahead score with 45 seconds left against Boise State on Sept. 12.

"This is what he thrives on," said his mother, Karen. "He says he's not nervous, and I believe him."

As much as Mangum loves big stages, he chose the smaller audience of a girls basketball game for his National Anthem performance, a requirement for earning a letter in Eagle's renowned choral program. His father's review? "Positively … awful," Michael Mangum said, smiling.

So not everything went perfectly, even for a guy who was voted Eagle's homecoming prince as a junior (soon after transferring from Timberline, when his parents moved to the more upscale and athletically supportive community of Eagle, about 20 miles away) and was crowned king as a senior. Inheriting the QB job from Taylor Kelly, who won a state championship and went on to a successful career at Arizona State, Mangum broke his collarbone early in his junior season.

He responded by leading the Mustangs to the state finals as a senior. Mangum passed for nearly 500 yards in the title game, but his four interceptions were among Eagle's mistakes in a loss to defending champion Coeur d'Alene at Boise State's Albertsons Stadium.

File that information away for BYU's visit to Boise State next October. That will be a home game for Mangum's parents, who have spent this entire century watching their three boys and two girls compete in high school and college sports. In a gym last week, as Eagle junior Abby Mangum played basketball (scouting report: excellent passer), her mother scrolled through a calendar to relive a football season of watching two sons who starred for two schools.

Tanner's emergence divided a household. When his brother beat Nebraska, Madison lost his exclusive following as an Idaho State senior. The parents went separate ways most weekends, although some Friday games enabled them to watch both sons play. The Mangums endured a Saturday in September when their teams lost by a combined 111-8 (Michigan 31, BYU 0; UNLV 80, ISU 8). They also experienced moments such as Tanner's celebrated return from a hamstring injury to beat East Carolina — one of his five victories after BYU was behind or tied in the fourth quarter — and enjoyed Madison's 70-catch senior year, even though the Bengals finished 2-9.

BYU and ISU had open dates Oct. 31, so Madison visited his brother in Provo, witnessing how Tanner is "swarmed wherever he goes," he said. "I just really like the way Tanner has handled it all."

Abby is a college basketball prospect, so this stuff could last through 2021 or beyond for the Mangums. Tanner will be eligible to enter the NFL draft whenever he's ready. The immediate issue is what will happen with BYU's offense. Imagine if Navy's Ken Niumatalolo is hired as the Cougars' coach and installs the triple option. Or if Hill chooses to return as a fifth-year senior, rather than transfer to another school.

As much as he admires Mangum's positive approach, Peterson said, "This is going to require him to understand the business side of things a little more."

Yet Mangum, predictably, is not fazed about the coaching search. "I trust the process," he said. "I trust that when the time comes, everything will take care of itself."

All he can do this week is prepare for the bowl game and try to uphold the tradition of Eagle quarterbacks. In his Arizona State career that ended last year, Kelly went 3-0 vs. Utah.

Twitter: @tribkurt —

Record tracker

With one game remaining in his freshman season, Tanner Mangum is about 20 percent of the way to equaling Ty Detmer's BYU career passing records.

Comp. Record Pct.

242 958 25.2

Yards Record Pct.

3,062 15,031 20.3

TDs Record Pct.

21 121 17.3 Meet the Mangums

Michael Mangum, an Olympus High School basketball player and student body president, attended BYU, where he met his wife, Karen, who's from southern California. Their youngest daughter, Abby, a high school junior, is expected to follow her four siblings into college sports.

Name Sport School

Parker Football Saint Mary's/BYU

Meredith Soccer Boise State

Madison Football BYU/Idaho State

Tanner Football BYU Tanner & Taysom

BYU quarterbacks Tanner Mangum and Taysom Hill grew up about 240 miles apart in southern Idaho, with similar family and athletic backgrounds.

• Hill, 25, of Pocatello, is the youngest of four siblings, with two brothers who played college football (one as a quarterback) and a sister who played junior college basketball. Mangum, 22, of Boise, is the fourth of five children, with two brothers who played college football (one as a quarterback), an older sister who played college soccer and a younger sister who plays high school volleyball and basketball.

• Gino Mariani, Hill's head coach at Highland High, followed Paul Peterson as an Idaho State quarterback in the 1980s. Peterson was Mangum's coach at Eagle High.

• In 2008, when Mangum was playing as a freshman for Timberline High School, Hill's Highland team beat Eagle in the state championship game.

• In 2011, Mangum's Eagle team beat Highland in the state semifinals.

• Hill wore No. 3 in football and basketball in high school, before switching to No. 4 at BYU. Mangum wore No. 11 in both sports in high school, then took No. 12 at BYU.