Texas started the 2012 season with a glaring question mark at the quarterback position. Twelve games later, little has changed. Now its coaches are looking into another possible answer.
On Monday, Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin met with Arizona Western College quarterback Tanner McEvoy in Yuma, Ariz.
The 6-foot-6, 210-pound junior college transfer and former South Carolina quarterback is indeed interested in what the Longhorns might have to offer. While McEvoy did not pick up an offer Monday, he’s hoping that could come soon.
“It seems like I have one,” McEvoy said. “I feel like I do, I assume I do, but they haven’t said it yet. Maybe he’s got to check with Coach [Mack] Brown or something and figure it out. But hopefully in the next few days he’ll let me know.”
A redshirt freshman with three years of eligibility remaining, McEvoy led Arizona Western to an 8-2 record and earned conference offensive player of the year honors. Now he wants to get back into BCS-level football, and he came away impressed by Harsin’s pitch.
“He said he wants someone to come in and compete, and he thinks I can do that,” McEvoy said. “He’s obviously not saying anything about starting right away or anything -- obviously I knew that. I know Texas has a bunch of QBs already. But he said I can come in and compete and that’s what he wants. I’m more than down for that.”
Harsin left with McEvoy’s transcripts and film of his performance in Arizona Western’s 42-37 win in the NJCAA El Toro Bowl. Brown had planned to take the background check one step further.
McEvoy said the Texas coach was set to meet with his parents Monday night in New York but ended up having to cancel those plans. The quarterback hopes he’ll reschedule.
If Texas were to offer, would McEvoy commit on the spot? Arizona Western coach Tom Minnick believes that’s a possibility. McEvoy knows he has to make a decision quickly if he’s planning a January enrollment, but he’d still like to take some time before signing.
“I’m sure I’d take a visit,” McEvoy said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a 100 percent done deal. But I think I’m definitely going to take my time, see what other offers come in and take it day by day.”
Besides Texas, only Oregon and Arkansas have shown serious interest in the South Carolina transfer. McEvoy originally chose the Gamecocks back in 2011 over more than 15 offers, including North Carolina, Michigan, Miami, Rutgers and Boston College.
That short list should expand in the coming weeks. McEvoy and his coaches have begun sending out his 2012 tape to colleges and are hoping to hear from more soon.
For a redshirt freshman who didn’t enroll at Arizona Western until August, McEvoy made an impression on his coaches by making a quick transition. He only played a few minutes in the Matadors’ season opener, but it didn’t take long for him to earn the starting job.
“His 2,100 yards and 28 touchdowns came within nine games. That tells you something,” Minnick said. “He’s a player. He rushed for over 500 yards. He’ll get better and better as time goes on. He’s just a little raw, but he’s going to be a pretty good football player.”
McEvoy was the No. 4 quarterback on South Carolina’s depth chart when he left the program. He’s well aware that Texas’ numbers don’t look any more favorable at the moment with David Ash, Case McCoy, Connor Brewer and Jalen Overstreet all returning.
Minnick said Harsin gave no indication that any of those four is considering a transfer, but added that he did note there’s always a chance one could opt to leave.
But the Longhorns don't sign juco transfers for insurance. They sign them to contribute right away. If they land McEvoy, he’s confident he can battle for the starting job.
“I left South Carolina because I don’t want to sit on the bench,” he said. “I want to play. I want to compete. I feel like no matter what school I go to, if you’re playing D-I, the school is going to have quarterbacks. You’ve got to beat them out.”
Texas will have another quarterback joining the fold in the spring, when Whitewright, Texas, commit Tyrone Swoopes enrolls early.
His father, Tyrone Swoopes Sr., said Monday night he and his son were unaware Texas is looking into a juco quarterback. Harsin is expected to visit Swoopes on Tuesday in Whitewright, and the four-star athlete will take his official visit to Austin this weekend.