NEW YORK --- Record-setting Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill was the eighth overall selection of the 2012 NFL Draft on Thursday, marking the first time A&M has produced top 10 picks in consecutive years.
Tannehill, from Big Spring, Texas, was selected by the Miami Dolphins. Last year, All-American Von Miller was picked second overall by the Denver Broncos and went on to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year honors by the Associated Press.
"It was awesome. It was everything I thought it would be and more," Tannehill told ESPN's Suzy Kolber after his selection. "It was such a humbling experience and yet so exciting at the same time. To see my name on the back of a NFL jersey for an organization like the Miami Dolphins, I couldn't be more excited."
The coaching staff for the Dolphins will be familiar to Tannehill since it features three members of the Aggies' 2011 staff - former head coach Mike Sherman (offensive coordinator), Zac Taylor (assistant quarterbacks coach) and Jim Turner (offensive line). Also on the Dolphins staff is former A&M tight end standout Dan Campbell.
Tannehill is the first Aggie quarterback ever selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The previous high for an A&M signal-caller was when Marion Pugh was selected in the second round of the 1941 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. It was also the first time Texas A&M has had players picked in the first round of the NFL Draft in consecutive years since the early 1990s when the Aggies did it in 1992-94.
Tannehill is the only player in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) history to throw for 4,000 yards and gain more than 1,500 receiving yards in his career. He's also the only FBS player to have single games of 400-plus passing yards and 200-plus receiving yards on his resumé.
Among the A&M passing records that Tannehill shattered during his career were single game passing yards (449 vs. Texas Tech, 2010), and single season passing yards (3,744, 2011) and completion percentage (65.0, 2010). As a receiver, Tannehill set freshman records for season catches and receiving yards (55-844 in 2008) and single game freshman records for catches and yards (12 catches for 210 yards vs. Kansas State, 2008).
On being selected by Miami.
RYAN TANNEHILL: I didn't know until I saw the Florida area code light up on my phone. That was a great moment. I'll never forget it. I answered the call and heard Jeff Ireland and the rest of the crew on the other line. I didn't know. I didn't know what to expect coming into today really. You hear the rumors but other than that I really didn't know.
Q. What do you think about being reunited with Mike Sherman and the fact that after your name was announced, you and he were No. 2 and 4 on top Twitter picks.
RYAN TANNEHILL: 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. So I'm excited to work with him again, not only him but the rest of the coaching staff. Coach (Joe) Philbin did a great job in Green Bay, excited to learn from him, as well.
Q. On his expectations playing for the Dolphins.
RYAN TANNEHILL: haven't told me anything so far. I'm just excited to get down to South Florida, get into the organization, get back to football, get to the playbook, get to the locker room and get to know the guys. I hear they have great players on there with a great locker room, so I'm excited to get in there and get to know everybody and then just get back to football. They have two great quarterbacks already on the rosters in Matt (Moore) and David (Garrard), and I'm excited to get to know them and get to play with them.
Q. Did it seem like a long wait today or a short wait?
RYAN TANNEHILL: I don't want to complain. It felt like a long wait just because you're sitting there and you're anxious and you're excited. But I'm thankful to get that call relatively early and be a part of the Dolphins.
Q. Are you happy that you're the third quarterback off the board and still in the top 10?
RYAN TANNEHILL: I'm just excited to go as high as I could. I'm excited to be a part of Miami. Really being third quarterback or anything, that doesn't really cross my mind. I'm excited to go in the top 10, to be a part of the Miami Dolphins.
Q. Is med school on the horizon?
RYAN TANNEHILL: Sure. I wanted to have a good backup plan, and that was going to be my backup plan, but right now I'm 100 percent focused on football and can't wait to get started.
Q. Your admission to the med school of your choice when your career is over?
RYAN TANNEHILL: I haven't applied to any so I don't know.
Q. Do you have a sense of how much Dolphins fans have longed for a franchise quarterback?
RYAN TANNEHILL: I haven't been down in Florida. I try to stay out of the media circus, so I don't. I'm just excited to get down there and start working.
Q. What part of your passing technique do you want to work on once you get to work?
RYAN TANNEHILL: I think the past few months I've been working on my footwork, just being smooth, especially throwing to my left. I think that was 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 during this time and feel 100 percent confident going to my left now.
Q. What do you want to accomplish coming out of training?
RYAN TANNEHILL: Want to first and foremost get down there and get to know the playbook. I think that I should have at least some background knowledge playing with Coach Sherman at A&M. I'm sure there will be some things that are different, more in depth, and I'm excited to get to know those things. I'm excited to get into the playbook, get to know the guys and just be in the locker room.
Q. Is it meaningful at all to go in the first round?
RYAN TANNEHILL: For sure. It's a true blessing. It's a humbling experience to go in the top 10. It's a dream come true.
Q. I noticed you give a big hug to Fletcher Cox. Do you think this period is like the nicest that these defensive linemen are ever going to be to you?
RYAN TANNEHILL: For sure, it's great. Just spending a couple days with some of the best players in the country, defensive and offensive players alike, we all wish the best for each other right now. I'm sure there will be some healthy competition on the field in the next few years, but right now we're just excited for each other. We're all starting a new phase of our lives, so we're excited for each other.
Q. How does your experience at wide receiver aid you on the field as a quarterback?
RYAN TANNEHILL: I can relate to receivers in a way that most other quarterbacks can't. I've been in their shoes, I've run the routes that they're running, most of them. I've seen how your routes adjust versus certain coverages, and you see what they're seeing, I guess. 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.
Q. Coming in did you feel like the Dolphins were the best fit for you because Sherman was there?
RYAN TANNEHILL: I really didn't know what the best fit was. I felt like the best fit was going to be wherever I got picked, because that's the team that wants me, that believes in me and thinks I'm the guy. Obviously now I think the Miami Dolphins is a great place to be, just the familiarity with Coach Sherman and his offense and a couple other coaches on the coaching staff as well as the rest of the coaching staff. Coach Philbin did a great job in Green Bay, so I'm excited to work with everyone.
Q. What do you think of the legacy that Miami has had at quarterback, Bob Griese, Dan Marino? What do you think about yourself playing quarterback for the Miami Dolphins?
RYAN TANNEHILL: I'm excited. You follow some great guys. It's definitely exciting. I don't think there's any added pressure because of that. I think that it's completely separate time periods. To be a part of an organization with a rich history and tradition, it's hard to put into words.
Tannehill Taken Eighth Overall by Miami Dolphins
April 26, 2012
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)