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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Evan Landi


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Evan Landi

Posted August 07, 2010 by Scott Carter

Updated Aug 07, 2010 at 03:36 PM

A story on Evan Landi’s role in Sunday’s edition of The Tampa Tribune:

TAMPA – This could be a difficult one for hardcore University of South Florida football fans to swallow: one of the team’s most popular players has strong ties to that school in Orlando.

But no one on the team holds that against sophomore receiver/quarterback Evan Landi, whose father, Michael, played football at UCF and whose mother, Dee, played basketball there.

“His work ethic and his character is what allow so many people to get behind him,’’ USF receivers coach Phil McGeoghan said. “Every coach is pulling for him. Everybody on this team wants him to do well. He is a tremendous asset to this offense.’’

Landi’s profile has risen significantly since he arrived in 2008 from Coral Springs Charter High, where he starred at quarterback, receiver and was an all-state defensive back. With USF’s depth and experience at quarterback and receiver alarmingly thin entering the season, Landi could become one of the Bulls’ most important players.

Recruited primarily as a quarterback, Landi redshirted his first year on campus and then played sparingly as a freshman in 2009, catching five passes and throwing five in between his roles on special teams.

Rather than back-up starting quarterback Matt Grothe and second-stringer B.J. Daniels a year ago, Landi asked to move to receiver full-time. He lined up there in the first game against Wofford, but once Grothe suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third game and Daniels took over as the starter, Landi was used less frequently to prevent a potential injury in case Daniels went down.

Once Skip Holtz took over the program in January and realized Landi was by far the team’s second-best quarterback behind Daniels, he split Landi between the two positions during the second half of spring practice. In the spring game in April, Landi showed why by hitting 11 of 24 passes for 152 yards and catching a 57-yard touchdown pass.

While Landi is back at receiver full-time in fall camp – true freshmen Jamius Gunsby and Bobby Eveld are working behind Daniels – a return to quarterback isn’t out of the question despite serious depth concerns at receiver with the loss of Carlton Mitchell (left school early for NFL), A.J. Love (knee injury) and Sterling Griffin (ankle injury).

“Evan is doing some great things at receiver,’’ Holtz said after Friday’s practice. “He looks good. I’d hate to take him away from that position, but if we need to in a part-time role, we will.’’

At 6-foot-3, 221 pounds, Landi has the size-speed combination that can make him effective at receiver and quarterback. So far in camp, he is working with the first-team receivers along with Dontavia Bogan and Lindsey Lamar, but he understands the situation the Bulls face.

“I’m trying to learn the ins and outs of the receiver position,’’ Landi said. “I guess you have to expect everything. I don’t see [moving back to quarterback] happening, but I’m a team player if they need it. I’ve done it before.â€

That attitude is what makes Landi – a former hockey player who had a contract offer from the Ontario Hockey League coming out of high school – so popular with coaches and teammates.

“The guys really respect him, and that’s big,’’ McGeoghan said. “When you have a starter out there who guys want to see do well, people rally around that. He was so selfless last year, going in between the two position rooms not knowing where he would be on the depth chart from week to week.’’

The best-case scenario for USF is for Daniels to stay healthy and Landi firmly establish himself at receiver. But with Gunsby, a true freshman from LaGrange, Ga., and Eveld, a walk-on from Jesuit, so inexperienced, Holtz has a plan in place in how to balance Landi’s role this fall.

Holtz said Landi will work full-time at receiver until Aug. 14, the day of USF’s first scrimmage, and depending on how Gunsby and Eveld progress, he will make a decision then on whether Landi will take some reps at quarterback the second half of camp as a back-up plan behind Daniels.

“It would be even more valuable if I could put him at quarterback and get a two-man race going,’’ Holtz said. “That would be even better from a football-team standpoint. It might be a possibility if I didn’t have what is going on at wide receiver right now. I just don’t have a lot of options out there.

“That’s why I need to leave Evan out there and he’s doing a great job. He can play out there. I also think he can play at quarterback, and I think he proved that in what he did in the spring game.’’

Landi seems unfazed by the different scenarios, focusing his energy instead on continuing to improve so he can play an important role on the team regardless of the position. He hopes to make a transition similar to the one made by former Kansas quarterback Kerry Meier, who moved from quarterback to receiver and caught 102 passes a year ago and is now an NFL rookie with Atlanta.

“I went through the same summer workouts,’’ he said. “I don’t think [the injuries at receiver] changed my approach at all. You always try to stay focused at practice and practice as if you are the starter. That’s how I approach it.’’

McGeoghan expected nothing less of one of his rising pupils.

“Evan’s work ethic is going to allow him to be very successful,’’ McGeoghan said. “He has ability. He has talent. He is very, very smart. He is one of the smarter guys we have in the program at any position. He can be a big-time playmaker for us.’’

http://www.tboblogs.com/index.php/sports/comments/in-the-spotlight-evan-landi/

Good article.

I remember Kerry Meier when he played QB when we were up there and then played WR when they came here. He's a good model for Landi to follow.

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Good comparison with Kerry Meier.  I see a BIG year out of the trio of Bogan, Landi and Lamar.  Just watch.

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Good comparison with Kerry Meier.  I see a BIG year out of the trio of Bogan, Landi and Lamar.  Just watch.

Speaking of BIG you left out Virgin and this guy!  ;)

6925_1230374284951_1396927103_30664722_2274975_n.jpg

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Good comparison with Kerry Meier.  I see a BIG year out of the trio of Bogan, Landi and Lamar.  Just watch.

Speaking of BIG you left out Virgin and this guy!  ;)

6925_1230374284951_1396927103_30664722_2274975_n.jpg

The look on the face of the guy in the t-shirt is priceless. 

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Good comparison with Kerry Meier.  I see a BIG year out of the trio of Bogan, Landi and Lamar.  Just watch.

Speaking of BIG you left out Virgin and this guy!  ;)

6925_1230374284951_1396927103_30664722_2274975_n.jpg

The look on the face of the guy in the t-shirt is priceless. 

What I would like to see is the look on Urban's face, if Holtz brings in a Toro Loco package where Virgin throws it 70 yards in the air to TJ making a catch like that for a TD.  :o  ;D

780842.jpg

Has the ability to throw the ball close to 70 yards flat-footed

http://www.gousfbulls.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=7700&ATCLID=3662231

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