Joining the team as a redshirt sophomore last summer, Tanner McEvoy may have viewed last season as a failure by his inability to win the starting quarterback job or contribute as a wide receiver after breaking a bone in his wrist. Willing to do whatever he could to help the team, McEvoy was switched to safety and became one of Wisconsin’s best defensive backs down the stretch. Now back at quarterback, McEvoy is hoping to contribute in some fashion under center this season.
Stats: Played in 10 games with three starts at safety and played one game at wide receiver … Finished season with 27 tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception and four pass breakups… Registered a career-high three pass breakups in win at Minnesota.
Strengths: Ideally the player who fits the future of the quarterback position at Wisconsin, McEvoy is a true dual-threat quarterback who has the ability to beat opponents with his legs and stretch defenses. His 6-6 frame allows him to put more power behind his throws and create opportunities for deep passes.
Weaknesses: McEvoy’s throwing motion is still suspect, which has caused him to struggle at times when he’s forced out of the pocket and has to make plays without squaring his feet.
Why he is where he is: In a quarterback battle with Joel Stave, it’s hard to project where exactly McEvoy belongs. If he wins the starting job, his importance to the team will be significantly higher. If he’s the backup, his importance will be lower. Weighing the pros and cons, 10 seems about right.
Overall: In what was a neck-and-neck quarterback battle at the start of camp appears to have gone in the direction of Stave. However, McEvoy has a chance to be involved and be a big factor in the offense this season as the backup. Wisconsin offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig hinted the staff would develop a package for the backup quarterback. If used correctly, a chance-of-pace quarterback could help Wisconsin, as McEvoy has some tools that could generate some positive yards for the Badgers.
Up Next: Another young player who was originally committed to another school, No.9 on our list made a late change of heart and has developed into one of the best young players on Wisconsin’s roster.
Note: This is not a list of the team's 30 best players or a series about past success, but rather a list of which players are the most critical to the team’s success in 2014. The list was created based on a player’s overall importance, impact on the field, the player’s position and expectations. True freshmen were not considered for this season.