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Idaho Football

Now at Oregon State, ex-Idaho QB Gevani McCoy aims to prove he’s the latest FCS quarterback with FBS ability

Oregon State QB Gevani McCoy looks to pass during the Beavers’ Spring Showcase on Saturday at Reser Stadium in Corvallis.  (Tribune News Service)
By Nick Daschel Tribune News Service

CORVALLIS – It’s not as if Gevani McCoy’s thought was ridiculous. It’s been successfully done before.

Still, playing quarterback at Idaho versus the same position at an FBS school takes a leap of faith and confidence.

The thought of pursuing a transfer to an FBS school crossed McCoy’s mind last season, toward the end of September. Just 8 miles to his west, Washington State’s Cameron Ward seamlessly made the transition, transferring from Incarnate Word to become one of the Pac-12′s best quarterbacks.

McCoy’s thought eventually turned to action, as he requested a transfer that led the 6-foot, fourth-year junior to move to Oregon State. Though a decision regarding the Beavers’ 2024 starting quarterback is likely months away, McCoy has the pole position.

“I felt like I had what it takes to take my game to the next level,” said McCoy, who struggled a bit in OSU’s Spring Showcase game on Saturday. McCoy, sharing first-team snaps with fellow transfer Gabarri Johnson, had a few nice runs, but completed few passes of note.

“My goal is to play in the NFL,” McCoy said. “I just feel like this is a step that I had to take. More resources, better competition, faster speed.”

McCoy is a former Jerry Rice Award winner, given annually to the top freshman in FCS. That alone suggests McCoy is worthy of a shot playing against FBS competition. Former winners include Ward, Shedeur Sanders, Trey Lance and Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp.

McCoy, a Big Sky first-teamer in 2023, was the most active quarterback with Oregon State’s starting unit this spring. McCoy has taken the most snaps with the Beavers’ top offensive unit. Some of it is injury related; Johnson was idled the first three weeks of spring drills. But McCoy came into spring as the most experienced of the group, albeit all at Idaho.

It’s not as if McCoy hit the ground running with amazing play. There have been plenty of trials, as he’s facing what appears to be a better-than-average Oregon State defense. McCoy said the biggest adjustment isn’t speed, but OSU’s defensive line. Each practice McCoy has thrown a couple passes that were intercepted or had that potential. But his legs are beginning to make a difference, as is improved accuracy.

“(The defense) has had their days, and we kind of go back and forth,” McCoy said.

McCoy is indebted to Idaho, as it was the only school to offer a scholarship to him as a high school senior at Lawndale High in Baldwin Hills, California. After throwing for 5,834 yards and 43 touchdowns in three seasons with the Vandals, McCoy is feeling similar vibes about Oregon State.

“I felt comfortable here with the whole staff. It just felt like a real tight-knit staff and like a family. Coach (Trent) Bray played here, and a few other coaches, too. The fact that they came back … I definitely liked that,” McCoy said.

McCoy said he leaned on his parents and older brother for advice in making the move, but the clincher was Oregon State’s hiring of Idaho running backs coach Thomas Ford Jr.

“I was already like 85% here. I definitely liked it out here. Then I found out Coach Ford took the job, and I was super juiced,” McCoy said.

McCoy believes offensive coordinator Ryan Gunderson’s offense is a fit for his style.

“To be honest, all it really is, a guy to go out there and lead and put the ball in the right spot and hand the ball off to the back. It’s nothing crazy,” McCoy said. “If things do start to break down, I can make plays with my legs or extend plays.”