Corona Centennial quarterback Tanner McKee to play for Stanford after two-year Mormon mission

Corona Centennial quarterback Tanner McKee says Stanford was "the best fit."
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

There was no commotion, little drama and no controversy in the recruitment of 6-foot-6 quarterback Tanner McKee of Corona Centennial. That’s exactly how he wanted it.

He went about his task with with an open mind and a willingness to go anywhere. He took visits around the country — the South, the Midwest, the East Coast, the Northwest. He was in no hurry to make a college decision.

He had the unique advantage of being able to look two years ahead, because that’s the next time he’ll be able to play football after he leaves in June on a two-year Mormon mission.


When time came to finally announce his college choice Wednesday, McKee selected Stanford, both because of the school’s academic excellence and his trust in the Cardinal players and coaching staff.

“I bonded on the official visit,” he said. “There’s a ton of great schools. All the coaches are great guys. Ultimately, Stanford felt like the best fit. I tried to envision myself there.”

McKee, who likes Stanford’s pro-style offense, was considered the best senior quarterback in Southern California. He’s an accurate passer with the ability to run. He played three sports at times at Centennial.

He’ll find out in March where he’ll be headed for the next two years. The only communication he’ll have once he leaves will be a phone call to his family on Mother’s Day and Christmas and email once a week. And he’ll be taking a football with him to keep his arm in shape.

McKee wasn’t the only top player deciding to leave the area. Jeremiah Martin, a 6-5, 240-pound defensive end at Cajon, signed with Texas A&M. He had 30 1/2 sacks this past season.

Standout offensive lineman Jarrett Patterson of Mission Viejo turned down UCLA to sign with Notre Dame.


As usual, Southern California was a hotbed for Pac-12 recruiters.

Defensive back Julius Irvin from Anaheim Servite signed with Washington. He’s the son of former NFL defensive back LeRoy Irvin. Receivers Jalen Hall from Long Beach Poly and J.J. Tucker from Narbonne signed with Oregon. Arizona State picked up offensive lineman Jarrett Bell from Norco, linebacker Darien Butler from Narbonne, receiver Geordon Porter from Etiwanda, safety Aashari Crosswell and defensive end Jermayne Lole from Long Beach Poly, and linebacker Merlin Robertson of Gardena Serra.

Nationally, Georgia was a clear No. 1 in the recruiting ratings by over Ohio State and Texas. The Bulldogs were able to keep many top players from leaving the state. They signed eight five-star prospects, according to 247Sports. Among the newest signees was Quay Walker, a highly regarded linebacker previously committed to Alabama.

It’s the first time since 2010 that Alabama wasn’t ranked No. 1 with its recruiting class. The Crimson Tide were ranked No. 7.

Twitter: @latsondheimer