After weeks of will he or won’t he, Zach Evans finally let TCU fans know that he will.
On Sunday, after a long drawn out decision making process, sophomore running back Zach Evans announced via social media that he was indeed leaving Fort Worth and the program that gave him a shot after an unusual — to say the least — recruitment out of high school.
For I know the plans I have for you, Declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.— Zach Evans (@Runzekerun01) January 6, 2022
~ Jeremiah 29:11 pic.twitter.com/thwuahRpBi
Not even a late push by LT could sway the seat to stay in Fort Worth, despite the TCU legend saying the two had “a good talk” earlier this week.
Evans was a star at North Shore High School in Houston, where he led his team to back to back state championships his junior and senior seasons. He finished his career with nearly 5,000 yards rushing and 76 touchdowns, and was at one point the number one recruit in the country before a series of disciplinary issues dropped him to the #2 running back prospect. After initially committing to Georgia, Evans was let out of his NLI, ultimately matriculating to TCU in May of 2020. His relationship with Gary Patterson and desire to be in a high discipline, stable program drew him to Fort Worth, as did a solid pipeline from his high school program.
As a freshman, Evans showed flashes of the brilliance that earned him 44 offers, including nearly every “name brand” program in the country. He averaged 7.7 yards per carry on just 54 attempts, participating in nine games on the season and scoring four times. His first career touchdown came on a 30 yard scamper against Baylor, his first career 100 yard game was a romp over Kansas, and he finished his first year with 130 yards and two scores on just seven carries against La Tech. His best accomplishment may have been his 3.75 GPA, something Patterson was especially proud of. Evans earned Academic All Rookie team honors for his proclivity in the classroom.
It was apparent early in his sophomore season that the marriage might be in trouble; fans began to question his use after TCU lost to Texas. While the Longhorns ran fellow sophomore Bijan Robinson 35 times for 217 yards, Evans got just 15 touches despite averaging 7.5 yards per carry. Rumors about a “carry limit” started swirling and would intensify when Evans exited the game at Texas Tech at halftime and would make just one more appearance on the season, an 18 carry, 62 yard performance against West Virginia. Eight days after that game, Gary Patterson and TCU parted ways, and Evans would not play again for the Horned Frogs.
Prior to Patterson’s departure, Evans had fans in a flurry, as he scrubbed his instagram of all mentions of TCU on October 27th. As I wrote that week, “TCU Football, and Gary Patterson for that matter, want to complain about the lack of NIL deals and media attention for their players — but have no desire whatsoever to help make them accessible.” Once Patterson was out of the picture, the expectation that Evans would leave grew strong. Though Sonny Dykes — and even LaDainian Tomlinson — worked hard to re-recruit the star back, Evans took visits to Texas A&M and Ole Miss, and seemed destined to explore life outside of Funky Town. Crystal ball’s came in over the weekend for Ole Miss, and as Evans asked for an edit on instagram, Frog fans felt resigned to the inevitable. Say what you will about the SEC, but they know how to get their players paid.
Zach was a mercurial player among the fanbase, but as he spent less time on the field, the character assassination off of it grew louder. And that was completely unfair. Evans was nothing but a great teammate and student by all accounts, vocal on the sideline in games he didn’t play, and excelling in the classroom. He is a good kid who overcame some maturity issues at a young age, and leveraged his worth to maximize his opportunities. Would I have loved for him to stay at TCU? Absolutely. Will I begrudge him leaving? Not one bit.
And, well, he’s only playing one more season anyway, right?
The Frogs will now likely rely on Kendre Miller as their lead back, which is really just turning from 1A to 1B. Daimarqua Foster remains on the roster and the Frogs added another solid talent in incoming freshman Major Everhart. Fellow class of 2022 RB Ajay Allen, a speedster out of Monroe, remains committed but has not yet signed, and you can expect Dykes and co to go after a portal running back as well this offseason.
We wish all the best to Evans going forward — and take a moment to feel very old as we learn that Charlie Weis, Jr will be his OC at Ole Miss.