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Las Vegas Raiders select Tanner Muse in NFL Draft

Tanner Muse

By John Wilson

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Every kid that picks up a football has dreams of one day playing in the National Football League. For most those thoughts will  amount to no more than a whimsical fantasy.

However, for South Point’s Tanner Muse that dream came true when his name was called in the third round of this year’s NFL draft.

Muse has always been a gifted player with a solid work ethic. He was a standout three-sport athlete at South Point High School where he was heavily recruited by an assortment of D1 football programs.

After weighing his options Muse chose Clemson. While playing for the Tigers, Tanner had an outstanding career as a safety and special teams ace.

During his time at Clemson, Muse proved himself to be a solid contributor racking up 237 tackles and seven interceptions while playing on two national championship teams in 2016 and again in 2018.

Tanner made his mark as a player known for his outstanding speed and football savvy. Muse had a nose for the ball. He was always in the thick of the action.

Once Tanner’s college career was over NFL analysts went to work and started to speculate on where he would fit in at the next level.

Most agreed that Muse was a solid playmaker but there were those that wondered how his skills would translate to the NFL.

At 6’2” 230 lb Muse is huge for a safety. Due to his size, there were concerns that he may not be nimble enough to cover NFL caliber wide receivers.

Many pundits believed that Tanner’s skill set and size would necessitate a move from safety to linebacker.

Early on mock draft boards had Tanner projected as a possible late-round or priority free agent pick.

In the big scheme of things that’s not bad, but as it turned out the football world had other plans for Tanner Muse.

Not long after the college season ended, Tanner got an invite to the annual NFL Scouting Combine held in Indianapolis.

Of the thousands of players that play college football across the country only a few hundred are selected to attend.

At the combine, prospects are subjected to an intense series of football drills and psychological tests.

The process is demanding. Scouts want to know what a player brings to the table. Not only physically, but mentally.

The stakes are high. A poor showing can sink a player’s chances of being drafted. While a solid performance can significantly enhance a player’s stock.

For Tanner Muse, the combine was a huge success.

Everyone knew Muse was fast, but he blew the scouts away with a blistering 4.41 40 yard dash time. Tanner also held his own in the bench press, vertical jump, and field drills. 

As the draft approached there was buzz that several teams were interested in Tanner and his name started to rise on draft boards across the league.

Of course, speculation is just that. No one knew for sure what would happen. 

As the nationally televised draft got underway people across Gaston County tuned in to see if the Belmont standout would, in fact, be drafted. 

On the second day of the draft with the third round winding down the waiting ended. 

Tanner got a phone call from Raider head coach Jon Gruden. Coach Gruden asked Tanner if he wanted to be a Las Vegas Raider, to which Tanner replied, “Hell yeah!” 

Shortly after that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made it official when he announced Tanner as the 100th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.

It looks like the Raiders got their guy. A tough competitor that coach Gruden indicated that he and Las Vegas general manager Mike Mayock had had their eye on for a while. 

The Raiders plan to line Tanner up at the linebacker spot. It’s a position he may need to grow into. However, based on his football smarts and versatility look for Muse to contribute right away on special teams.

To say that the people of Belmont were thrilled to see Tanner drafted would be an understatement. Soon after the pick was called social media blew up with posts congratulating him.

Few could be prouder than South Point head football coach Adam Hodge. 

Over the years coach Adam Hodge has had a front-row seat as he has watched Tanner grow.

Hodge first started working with Tanner on the JV level. Over the years coach Hodge has seen Tanner mature as both a player and a person.

Coach Hodge is thrilled for Tanner and is happy to see him get the recognition he deserves. 

“We are extremely proud of Tanner and all his accomplishments,” Hodge said. “We haven’t had many people make it to the NFL so he certainly is well-deserving of his accolades.”

Coach Hodge knows that Tanner has had a great run-up to now and believes his former player has a bright future ahead of himself. 

“He had a great career in high school and college,” Hodge said. “We look forward to seeing him continue his journey in the NFL. Dreams still come true and it wonderful to see him live out his dream.”

Tanner is known for being a humble and grounded young man with a strong work ethic.

Despite being in the spotlight for many years Tanner has never forgotten where he comes from.

When asked about his thoughts on being drafted Muse kept the same outlook.

“It takes zero talent to hustle, keep the faith, and be proud of where you’re from,” he said. 

With an attitude like that it will be no surprise to see Tanner Muse wearing the Raiders silver and black for years to come.