The Horned Frogs made waves with Monday’s signing of one of the top players in the country.
The recruitment of running back Zach Evans has taken a long and winding road, but it has come to an end with Evans signing financial aid paperwork with TCU.
The 2020 recruit was ranked No. 16 overall in his class, but he had remained without a commitment to a team beyond the February signing period.
Evans, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound running back from North Shore High School in Houston, went back-and-forth with his decision during his recruitment, signing with Georgia in the December early signing period. He was scheduled to announce that decision on Jan. 2 at the Under Armour All-America Game, but did not make his announcement.
Five days later, Evans was released from his national letter of intent from Georgia and was back to square one, looking for a new school.
Opposing fanbases are saying their programs backed off, but the recruiting trail reveals something different.
Along with Georgia and Tennessee, Texas A&M and Mississippi were in the mix for Evans. At different points, Alabama, Florida, LSU and Texas were involved with Evans.
None of those schools emerged as the winner for Evans’ services. Instead, it was in-state TCU pulling the upset in a winding process.
Evans was suspended for three games during his senior season. That, plus his reneged signing at Georgia, offer some red flags. But there’s no questioning the talent of a player selected as the most valuable player of the Under Armour All-America Game in January.
“We kept him as a five-star because he’s that good,” Craig Haubert, ESPN’s national recruiting coordinator, said in an interview with Knox News. “He was the type of guy where the NFL guys at the Under Armour game were impressed with him.”
Say what you want, but this guy is legit.
After getting his release from Georgia, LSU and Texas A&M became the frontrunners in his recruitment. He visited both programs for official visits during the fall; LSU in late October and Texas A&M in mid-November. He received an in-home visit from Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher on December 11.
Other schools that began to pursue Evans following his release from Georgia were Ole Miss, Tennessee and Florida. Evans visited Ole Miss and Tennessee in back-to-back weeks in January. He was scheduled to take an official visit to Florida on March 20 before the NCAA restricted visits. Auburn was another school that had become a school of interest for Evans according to some reports.
However, TCU quietly became an option behind the recruitment of head coach Gary Patterson and other coaches from his staff. Sources told HornedFrogBlitz that TCU had actually been building a strong relationship with Evans for well over a month.
If JC says he’s good, I believe that he’s good.
Evans is ranked as the No. 16 overall prospect in the 2020 class, according to 247Sports, and was regarded as the top overall player in the country last February.
Evans will compete for a starting job next season along with returning running backs Darwin Barlow and Daimarqua Foster. TCU’s top two running backs last season were seniors Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua.
“Zach is one of those kids who can walk in and be an immediate contributor as true freshman, if not the starter,” said Jeremy Clark, recruiting expert and Horned Frog Blitz publisher. “He’s got the perfect blend of speed and power. He’s one of those running back prospects who really comes around every 10 years.
“People have compared him to Adrian Peterson as far as where he’s at coming out of high school. I would not be surprised if he’s in the starting lineup. That’s what kind of player he is. Today should be a great day for TCU fans.”
Misunderstood? Evans is out to prove that he’s not the guy people are saying he is.
VYPE: What went into you choosing TCU?
EVANS: ”I chose them because of TCU being close to home and their offensive scheme.”
VYPE: This was a wild recruiting process for you can you explain what it was like for you and how challenging it has been?
EVANS: ”My recruiting process was crazy but it was a humbling experience for me. I got to open my eyes to the world, it gave me a reality check on certain situations and people. Not everyone is for you, so you have to do what’s best for you. Go where you needed not just wanted.”