By the time Tanner Mordecai entered the transfer portal last Thursday night, word quickly spread across social media that Wisconsin had emerged as the favorite to land the coveted SMU quarterback. So when Mordecai committed to the Badgers on Friday — instantly elevating the program with one of the most intriguing offseason pickups in college football — the natural inclination was that this transaction had been a long time coming with backroom conversations.

Mordecai’s father, Micah, insists that wasn’t the case at all. So, exactly how long did it take for the marriage between player and new school to come together?

“Try a day,” Micah told The Athletic. “Try crazy.”

Micah said when he and Tanner woke up last Wednesday, their plan was to meet with an agent three days later in Dallas to discuss Tanner’s NFL future. Tanner recently completed his fifth college football season, the last two as a record-setting starter for SMU, so trying his hand at the pros seemed like the next logical step. He announced that decision more than a month earlier ahead of SMU’s senior day.

But Kevin Murray saw another path for Mordecai. Murray, a two-time second-team All-American quarterback at Texas A&M in the 1980s, is a private quarterbacks coach in Texas who has worked with Mordecai since he was in ninth grade. Mordecai and Murray’s son, Kyler, were teammates at Oklahoma in 2018 when Kyler won the Heisman Trophy and became the No. 1 overall pick to the Arizona Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Murray has connections in the sport. And when schools began to inquire about Mordecai’s potential availability for another college season, he suggested Mordecai consider returning for his sixth and final year of eligibility to improve his draft status.