Wisconsin will reportedly have a new quarterback under center when the season kicks off against LSU on August 30.
Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, citing three sources, is reporting that redshirt junior Tanner McEvoy has been named the Badgers’ starting quarterback by head coach Gary Andersen, taking the reins from Joel Stave.
Stave, also a redshirt junior, started 19 games for the Badgers in his career – including all 13 games last season – but the staff has reportedly decided to go with the 6-foot-6, 222-pound McEvoy.
McEvoy started his career at South Carolina, but transferred to a junior college after a season. McEvoy landed at Wisconsin in 2013. He arrived on campus as a quarterback but bounced from wide receiver and then to safety. McEvoy impressed the coaching staff with his athleticism and quickly moved up the depth chart, playing 10 games at safety and starting three for the Badgers.
After the season, McEvoy switched back to quarterback and practiced with the first team throughout spring while Stave healed from a shoulder injury he sustained in the Capital One Bowl.
Andersen said at Big Ten Media Days in July that there would be “an open competition” at quarterback between Stave and McEvoy during camp. Stave threw for 2,494 yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season, but Andersen lauded McEvoy’s athleticism and said that having a guy who can make plays with his feet adds additional elements to the offense.
“I would say he's an elite athlete,” Andersen said. “But the way he moves around in his size, his ability to – the speed he runs with, I think he runs very, very well. He's elusive and he's smart. He allows you to do some things offensively to force defenses to understand that if you make a mistake, he's more than willing to take off and make you pay.”
Stave does not pose any sort of rushing threat (he ran for minus-22 yards last season). McEvoy ran for 414 yards in his lone junior college season.
Andersen told the media Monday that he had no plans to publicly announce who his starter would be, but now it appears that ship has sailed.
“We may know who the starter is, but we’re not going to say who the starter is until we jog out onto the field for the LSU game,” Andersen said. “There’s no big announcement. We don’t make a big announcement for the right tackle, don’t make a big announcement for the starting nose guard, so we’re not going to do that for the quarterback either.”
LSU head coach Les Miles followed Andersen’s lead, saying he would not publicly say if sophomore Anthony Jennings or freshman Brandon Harris would lead the Tigers’ offense. Miles said Tuesday that there is no separation between the two at this point, but did add that the team will probably find out next Thursday – two days before the game is played at NRG Stadium in Houston.
We'll have to wait and see whether LSU knowing Wisconsin's apparent starter will give the Tigers a leg up in the game.
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