NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ryan Tannehill played his first two seasons at Texas A&M as a wide receiver but on Thursday he began on the road to being an NFL quarterback when he was selected with the eighth pick of the first round of the draft by the Miami Dolphins.
Tannehill, a jack of all trades in high school, converted to quarterback in his junior season in college and showed so much promise he was the first signal-caller taken after the one-two picks of headliners Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.
“I didn’t know until I saw the Florida area code light up on my phone,” Tannehill said about the uncertainty of where he was going in the draft.
“That was a great moment. I’ll never forget it.”
Tannehill, who played defensive back, punter, receiver and quarterback at Big Spring High School in Texas, was tutored in the fine art of quarterbacking at A&M by former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman, who now serves as offensive coordinator for the Dolphins.
“I have a great relationship with Coach Sherman, got to know each other real well over the past four years, and especially over the past two,” he said.
“So I’m excited to work with him again.”
Tannehill said he was still considering going to medical school in the future, but for now is focusing on his quarterbacking craft.
“I’ve been working on my footwork, just being smooth, especially throwing to my left,” he told reporters.
“One thing I really focused on was using my legs, using my hips, clearing my left foot out of the way, to make accurate throws to the left. I feel like I progressed a lot and feel 100 percent confident going to my left now.”
Tannehill said his time spent catching passes helped him to be a better quarterback.
“I can relate to receivers in a way that most other quarterbacks can’t,” he said. “I’ve been in their shoes, I’ve run the routes that they’re running.
“I think it helps relate to what they’re doing and helps me put the ball in a place where I like to get it when I played receiver.”
Reporting By Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Steve Ginsburg