The quarterback position once again appears as unsettled as it did a year ago for the Texas Longhorns, who may now go the junior college route to find another quarterback, as co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin will be at Arizona Western CC on Monday to scout Tanner McEvoy.
The 6-6, 215-pound McEvoy is a dual-threat quarterback timed in the low 4.5s who transferred to Arizona Western from South Carolina prior to the season after an alcohol-related arrest and being buried on the depth chart. Coming out of Bergen Catholic in New Jersey, he was considered a three-star prospect after only playing quarterback for one season.
Because the big, athletic signal-caller redshirted during his only season at South Carolina, he has three seasons of eligibility remaining and, like most junior college prospects, will be able to enroll in the spring semester.
The year at Western has been a monster success for McEvoy, who earned conference player of the year honors after throwing for nearly 2,000 yards, racking up over 400 rushing yards (5.75 ypc), compiling 31 total touchdowns, and throwing only six interceptions, all while completing 63% of his passes.
On film, McEvoy backs up his reported 40 time, showing both quickness and good top-end speed on scrambles, zone reads, and quarterback draws. Faster than David Ash, he also has a little bit more agility and lateral quickness, though his build is not as sturdy as the smaller Ash. McEvoy has, however, added about 20 pounds of muscle since leaving high school.
The Western product would probably represent an immediate upgrade from Ash as a runner and may be comparable to Swoopes in that regard. In fact, McEvoy is faster by a significant margin in terms of testing ability.
As a passer, he shows off a strong arm that allows him to push throws well downfield, several times hitting his receivers in stride on deep routes against good coverage. The concern is that since McEvoy puts so much air under those passes and does try to fit them into small windows, that those same plays could end up as breakups or interceptions at the next level.
At times, though, McEvoy compares favorably to Connor Brewer in his ability to put touch on the football and put it right on a receiver's back shoulder.
On deep comebacks, McEvoy can use his arm strength to put significant velocity on the football that could probably be increased by working on his footwork, as he has a tendency to drift sideways on his release. It is impressive that McEvoy can make those difficult throws without ideal footwork, instead accomplishing those good results on pure arm strength.
For Texas, the issue is that if McEvoy receives an offer and commits, there could be six scholarship quarterbacks on campus during the spring with 2013 commit Tyrone Swoopes set to enroll early -- a crowded group that would not allow players like Swoopes and redshirting freshman Connor Brewer many opportunities for playing time.
And while the timing may just indicate that the coaches feel as uncertain about the quarterback position moving forward as many fans do, it could also be a sign that one of the scholarship quarterbacks is set on transferring, with the most likely candidate being another redshirting freshman, Jalen Overstreet, who is said to have had some differences of opinion with Harsin, though a former coach said on Twitter that Overstreet wants to be a Longhorn.
In terms of McEvoy's recruitment, he does not appear to have any major offers at this time, though Oregon is set to come by the school ($) and Arkansas has also showed interest. The Ducks look to have their longterm solution in redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota, while the Razorbacks will have to replace longtime starter Tyler Wilson. If Arkansas offers, that could be the most favorable situation of the three.
However, Hookem.com is reporting that Mack Brown could be on his way out to visit ($) with McEvoy's family and believes that the former South Carolina Gamecock would commit if offered.
The verdict? McEvoy is a better prospect than Bo Wallace because he never had the same mechanical issues with his release that Wallace had to fix at EMCC, has better arm strength, and is a better overall athlete as a runner.
Compared to quarterbacks on campus like Connor Brewer, McEvoy has significantly more upside because he is taller, more athletic, and has a stronger arm. Compared to Overstreet, McEvoy is much more refined as a passer.
It's still a major step up from junior college to college, but McEvoy has proven himself at a higher level than either of those other two.
Could he possibly unseat David Ash? Tough to say, as Ash turned in a regular season that was quite impressive from the standpoint of statistics that matter for quarterbacks like completion percentage, overall rating, and yards per attempt.
But it does appear as if McEvoy could provide some serious competition, which may be exactly what this team needs as Mack Brown goes all-in for 2013.