Overstreet not just a running QB

AUSTIN, Texas -- You can't blame Andy Evans for getting frustrated by the doubt, the questions.

He's just standing up for his quarterback, the one all those college recruiters asked about when they stopped by his Tatum High School office. But most of them only wanted to know what else Jalen Overstreet can do.

"He's a quarterback. That's what he is," Evans said. "Because of his build, they think he can play safety or something else, but if he doesn't play quarterback there, he'll play quarterback somewhere else.

"That's what I've always said. He's going to play quarterback for somebody. He's just that good."

Evans has found a believer in Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, the man who handpicked Overstreet to fulfill the Longhorns' need for a true dual-threat talent at quarterback. And these days, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound verbal commit is working hard to prove he can be much more than a runner.

Overstreet has been throwing with his Tatum High receivers after school as often as possible. He's fine-tuning his footwork and accuracy and looking forward to the day he finally can prove himself when he gets to Austin.

"Every day I've been wishing I would've graduated early," Overstreet said. "I'm not going to worry about that. I'll be working hard down here."

Few are more confident in Overstreet's abilities than Evans. He witnessed the kid lead Tatum to a 25-4 record in the past two seasons, saw him play through a broken hand he didn't tell anyone about in each of Eagles' past two 2A Division I playoff runs.

So when Evans hears talk that Overstreet would be a great fit in Texas' Wild formation as a rushing threat, he doesn't exactly consider that a compliment.

"I think when they get him and they find out how really well he throws the football, they're going to be very pleasantly surprised," he said. "Their minds are going to change about the Wildcat thing. That's not the only time they'll get him in. He can play the whole time."

Though Overstreet won't decline an opportunity for immediate playing time, he'd like to clear up some misconceptions about his game.

First and foremost, he likes passing. His senior highlight tape may be filled with zone-read dashes and juked-out defenders, but Overstreet takes pride in his throwing ability.

"I have heard people talk down about my passing. I honestly believe I am a better passer than runner," he said. "I think I might surprise people with how well I'll develop under coach Harsin as a passer."

Second, Evans insists the mechanics are not as bad as some recruiters think. Overstreet is by no means a raw passer -- he spends time on the finer details of his motion every day -- but a year of learning every day at Texas, of making reads and understanding coverages, will do him a lot of good.

And most important of all, he's ready to compete. He says he didn't pay much attention when UT considered bringing junior college transfer Bo Wallace in on a visit. He doesn't dwell on the fact Connor Brewer will compete in spring ball and get a leg up on him. And he doesn't have much to say about the David Ash-Case McCoy battle.

"That's for the coaches. The way that played out at the end of the season, I don't have an opinion on that," Overstreet said. "I'm just hoping to get a chance once I get up there."

Overstreet is certainly not lacking in motivation. When the recruiting sites say you're a three-star athlete and other coaches suggest you should give up your dream of playing quarterback, it's hard not to feel some small need to prove everyone wrong.

"It is a little bit insulting that you can play quarterback every year and people, without ever really seeing you under center, can decide that's not what you play," Evans said. "That drives him a little bit."

So does the success of Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton, two run-pass threats he looks up to. Overstreet proudly says the Heisman Trophy winners opened the door for fast guys like him. Without them, maybe a BCS-level school never would've given him a shot under center.

What's he going to do with that opportunity? Those who believe in him can't wait to find out.

"If he's given a chance, I would venture to say he'll have a shot to play," Evans said. "He's that talented, that athletic. I just don't have a doubt."

Max Olson covers University of Texas sports and recruiting for HornsNation.
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