Toronto brings back hockey memories for Landi
Only about eight USF football players had passports before the Bulls were invited to Saturday's International Bowl in Toronto, but receiver and backup quarterback Evan Landi was certainly one of them.
Landi, a redshirt freshman, said by phone Tuesday that he's been to Canada "five or six times," all during his days as a junior hockey prospect, including summer tournaments in Toronto.
"I think it's ironic," Landi said, "that I come back here for football."
As we wrote back in April, the 6-foot-3, 214-pound Landi was a legitimate hockey prospect entering his senior year of high school, and flew to Ontario for a workout with the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL before ultimately choosing college football for his sporting future.
So Landi has been to the Hockey Hall of Fame, where the Bulls are scheduled to visit this week, and he's been to the city's 1,820-foot-tall CN Tower, another stop on USF's pregame itinerary. Landi grew up with Wayne Gretzky as is idol and his favorite team the Florida Panthers, who play about 15 minutes from his home in Coral Springs.
Landi has split time this season between quarterback and receiver, but said Tuesday that he expects to move full-time to receiver after the bowl game. He has four catches for 30 yards at receiver this season.
"I'm almost positive I'll make the permanent switch to receiver for next year," said Landi, who has thrown for 36 yards and a touchdown in limited playing time. "I feel comfortable out there now, and I know that some things will come with experience. I've been working a lot more at receiver."
THIS AND THAT: USF avoided 9-degree weather a bit Tuesday by practicing in the University of Toronto's indoor practice facility. ... Another Bulls player who had his passport before the bowl announcement was senior linebacker Chris Robinson. "When we heard we were going to Canada, I was actually excited," Robinson said. "A lot of them were kind of bummed, didn't want to go out of the country. Being with my teammates on my last bowl game, out of the country, is going to be the best time of my life, I think." Robinson is excited about seeing the NBA's Raptors, who play Wednesday night against Charlotte. "I'm a big Chris Bosh fan," Robinson said. "Hopefully I'll get a chance to see him play."