SIU commit Tanner Hearn looks forward to next level

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Another NFA trained quarterback, another college offer.
A large number of Class of 2015 QBs with NFA ties have already committed to play college football, and Tanner Hearn is on the list.
Before the 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior passed for 2,900 yards and combined for 34 touchdowns this past season at East River High School in Orlando, Hearn committed to Southern Illinois University.
“After I visited all the schools I visited last summer, I got an offer from Southern Illinois,” Hearn said. “When I went and visited, I liked that place from the beginning. I liked the program, I liked all the coaches and the coaches loved me in the camp. I knew from the start when I got there I wanted to go there. When they offered me, I knew it was the place for me. I knew I had a great opportunity up there and I knew getting away from home would give me a chance to grow up on my own a little more. It was a great opportunity all the way around.”

Big senior season

Hearn showed he is more than ready to play at the next level while earning Florida third-team All State Class 7A honors as a senior.
“I really enjoyed my senior season,” he said. “It was everything I looked forward to. I just wanted to go out in my last year and have fun and play the best ball I could play. Knowing I was going to Southern Illinois, it was like a stress reliever because I was able to play my best knowing I’m going to a great college program. I enjoyed all my coaching and playing with my teammates. It was a great senior year to go out on.”
One of the highlights of Hearn’s senior season was a game against Oak Ridge, which featured another NFA product at quarterback – D’Andre Weaver. East River came out on the short end of a 34-28 score, but Hearn and Weaver combined to pass for 608 yards and 6 touchdowns.
“That was one of the favorite games I played in,” Hearn said. “I knew a lot of guys on the other team from playing 7-on-7. It was good to go out and play well in that game. It was a real close game the entire way.”
Hearn is a dual threat quarterback who rushed for 300 yards last season. “I love throwing the ball from the pocket, but I also love extending plays on the roll out or run and making plays,” he said.

NFA training

Hearn gives NFA and Founder/President Darin Slack big credit for helping him develop his game. He started attending NFA camps as a high school freshman.
“They helped me get ready for high school, and they helped me get ready for the next level,” Hearn said. “And NFA helped me with more than my throwing motion. With the throwing motion, it’s a different process for each coach you go to. Coach Slack’s process is he breaks it down for you and you understand it. You know it’s right. The main thing he helped me with was reading coverages. I think that’s what helped me the most in high school and will probably help me a lot in college. If I didn’t know the coverages like Coach Slack taught me, I wouldn’t have been able to break down the defenses like I did.”
Now, Hearn is preparing himself for success at Southern Ilinois, and possibly more.
“I might redshirt just to get a year to grow and learn the offense,” he said. “Or, I could go in there and play, depending on the quarterback situation and how injuries go. I’m just going to go up there and compete, play the best I can and learn the offense. We’ll see where it goes from there. My goal is to go up there and compete and start as soon as I possibly can. I want to play football my last couple years of college. If I play well in college and have a chance at the next level, that would be awesome because that’s every quarterback’s dream.”

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Scot Gregor is an award-winning sportswriter for the Chicago Daily Herald. In addition to writing about Big 10 and Notre Dame football, Gregor has also covered the White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and college basketball. He grew up in Pittsburgh and watched the Steelers rise to prominence in the 1970s. Gregor has a B.S. degree in Journalism from Ohio University

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