- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Wisconsin has landed a highly sought after junior college quarterback, making the crowded competition for playing time under center a little more interesting.
Tanner McEvoy, a 6-foot-6, 215-pounder who played last season at Arizona Western College, committed to the Badgers on Monday. His other finalists were Florida, Oregon and West Virginia. McEvoy is a New Jersey native who signed with South Carolina out of high school but transferred after being buried on the depth chart his redshirt freshman season.
He completed 68 percent of his passes for 1,813 yards and 24 touchdowns with five interceptions last year at Arizona Western while also rushing 49 times for 252 yards and three touchdowns.
He gives new coach Gary Andersen and his staff another option in the quarterback race. The Badgers return three players who started at that position last year: Sophomore Joel Stave, sixth-year senior Curt Phillips and senior Danny O'Brien. In addition, Wisconsin has Bart Houston, a well-regarded 2012 signee who redshirted this past season with an injury, and Jon Budmayr, who is trying to overcome multiple arm injuries.
If you're wondering why the team would sign a junior college signal-caller with all those guys in place, consider that McEvoy will have three years of eligibility remaining. And his mobility gives him a weapon that only Phillips really brings to the table, and Phillips has undergone three ACL surgeries.
And take a look again at McEvoy's size. If somehow he didn't work out at quarterback, Wisconsin could find a place for him elsewhere. ESPN Recruiting Nation had this to say in its scouting report on him:
"We said it when McEvoy was coming out of high school and we still feel he is playing the wrong position if he wants to maximize his upside. He is a great athlete with terrific height and a frame that can still be developed. He is reminiscent of former Villanova and Atlanta Falcons WR Brian Finneran, and McEvoy could be a big, long-armed wideout who could make a ton of plays if he were used as a WR/slot/H-back."
That scouting report goes on to compare McEvoy to Kansas State QB and Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein, saying he's a better athlete than he is a passer and that he has a quirky delivery with a low arm angle.
They say you can never have enough quarterbacks, and sometimes you just recruit as many athletes as you can and figure out what to do with them later. If nothing else, McEvoy presents some intriguing options for the Badgers down the road.
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