Hello: Chris Evans

Submitted by Ace on June 6th, 2015 at 2:07 PM


Evans' Twitter handle: @Kidnplay_abc123 [Photo: 247]

Michigan has added their third commit of the week in Indianapolis (IN) Ben Davis ATH Chris Evans, who pledged to the Wolverines today after a title-winning day on the track, per 247's Steve Lorenz:

"Coach Harbaugh and all the coaching staff there, the connections they have, former NFL coaches." Evans said of what sealed the deal. "The feeling there at Michigan."

Evans told Harbaugh on Saturday afternoon, a day after winning a state championship in the 4x100.

"He told me congratulations, and then he spent 10 minutes talking to my mom on the phone. My mom likes everything about Michigan."

Evans is the ninth commit in the 2016 class, and while he's listed by most outlets as a running back, Sam Webb has repeatedly suggested Michigan is recruiting Evans as a slot receiver.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, #9 RB,
#165 Ovr
3*, #47 ATH NR RB 4*, 90, #5 APB,
#292 Ovr
4*, #6 APB,
#280 Ovr

Evans' rankings are all over the map. Scout is the most bullish on him; as you'll see in the scouting section, Allen Trieu really likes his game. 247 bumped him up to four-star status this week; they'd previously had him as a high three-star. Meanwhile, Rivals has him well off the four-star mark—their last four-star athlete is 26th in the position rankings—and ESPN hasn't evaluated him at all. (They haven't even updated his offer sheet since early May.)

Scout, Rivals, and 247 all list Evans at either 5'10" or 5'11" and 180-195 pounds. ESPN has him at 6'0", 190. It's tough, based on differing camp reports, to figure out which figure is closest to accurate; regardless, he's got the look of a slot receiver or a change-of-pace back.

SCOUTING

Since I've already mentioned Trieu, here's his free evaluation of Evans from his Scout profile:

All-purpose back who could easily be a slot in college. Excellent hands and pass-catching ability. Very comfortable running routes. A smooth kid who glides through traffic. Has good, maybe not elite speed and can make cuts and moves while going full speed. He's elusive and does a great job of finding running lanes. Not necessarily built like a tailback and can still add more bulk to his frame. - Allen Trieu

Strengths

  • Balance
  • Cutback Ability
  • Hands

Areas to Improve

  • Size

Trieu is basing that on multiple viewings. He called Evans "criminally under-recruited" after the Core 6 Showcase in January, when Evans held only four offers and earned camp MVP honors. Trieu took it a step further after February's Best of the Midwest Combine, saying Evans "continue[d] to show he's one of the best, not only in the state, but in the Midwest and possibly the country," after he won positional MVP at running back. Trieu also saw Evans at last weekend's The Opening regional in Columbus:

Among the other running backs who stood out were Demario McCall, a lightning quick Ohio State commit who earned his invitation to The Opening. He's a slot and a return man at the next level in our estimation, but is elusive and fluid. The same can be said of Chris Evans, who juked some guys out of their socks and as usual, caught the football well

While Evans didn't win position MVP honors in that case, it was a loaded field that included three of the top-ranked backs in the country in Miles Sanders, Tavien Feaster, and McCall.

Evans hasn't just stood out to one person, of course. Rivals' Josh Helmholdt liked what he saw from Evans on both sides of the ball at February's Pylon 7-on-7 tournament, naming him the #7 overall performer ($):

Evans made his biggest impact on defense during Saturday's pool play, but he got into the action more on offense during Sunday's tournament play. In the first game of the day, he led Core 6 Indiana to a win by catching two touchdowns and a P.A.T. He caught one of the touchdowns on a fade route in the corner of the end zone, but his most impressive catch was on the point after. The 6-foot, 188-pound athlete also locked down a corner position for his defense and played very well there.

If Evans ends up on defense, he could play safety or cornerback.

247's Steve Wiltfong has also seen plenty of Evans on the camp circuit, and it's probably no coincidence 247 has him ranked higher than any other outlet save Scout. Wiltfong praised Evans' hands, ability in space, and even his blocking at the Best of the Midwest Combine. He said Evans "could not be checked" at a camp last December featuring several top Indiana prospects. Most recently, Wiltfong named Evans the top performer at Michigan's satellite camp in Indianapolis this week:

Indianapolis (Ind.) Ben Davis four-star running back Chris Evans typically leaves the field he played on as the best player and the same goes for this day.

Evans has speed, evident in him making the state finals in the 100-meter dash among other events, but it’s how fluid he is that impresses. The 5-foot-11, 186-pound Evans is so smooth changing direction. He’s an impact guy on the next level at running back, receiver, cornerback or safety.

At this particular camp, Evans was a cut above the rest through running back agility drills and in 1-on-1s it was easy for him to abuse the linebackers on the field. He’s sure-handed. Perhaps Evans best trait is his love for the game. If there is a football in the air, he’s typically performing at that particular camp.

It's a little surprising Evans hasn't received more attention. Ben Davis is a powerhouse program that won the state title last year, and Evans was a huge part of that, rushing for 131 yards and a score in the championship game after coming up big time and again earlier in the playoffs. The recruiting analysts who have taken the time to evaluate him, at least, really seem to like what they see.

OFFERS

Evans held offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota, Purdue, and a decent chunk of the MAC. 247 notes interest, but no offer, from Nebraska, Ohio State, Ole Miss, and Tennessee.

HIGH SCHOOL

As stated earlier, Indianapolis Ben Davis is one of the top programs in Indiana. Some notable recent recruits to hail from the school include former Minnesota QB/WR MarQueis Gray, former Michigan State S Isaiah Lewis, current Indiana standout S Antonio Allen, and incoming Notre Dame freshman LB Asmar Bilal.

STATS

According to 247, Evans rushed for 1249 yards and 18 touchdowns on 185 attempts (6.8 YPC) and caught 51 passes for an additional 676 yards (13.3 YPC) and ten scores as a junior. He also made a solid impact as a sophomore, with 970 yards of offense and 12 combined touchdowns.

FAKE 40 TIME

Davis certainly has speed, evidenced by his 11.05 100-meter dash time, but he's not considered elite in that category, so his listed 4.4 gets four FAKEs out of five.

VIDEO

Junior highlights:

Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Evans looks to be ticketed for the slot, which is where he fits best both as a prospect and within Michigan's class. The Wolverines don't have a ton of depth there unless Brian Cole ends up in the slot. If Cole stays on the outside, Michigan will only have senior DaMario Jones, juniors Ross Taylor-Douglas (if the positional nomad sticks there) and Freddy Canteen, and sophomore/RS freshman Grant Perry on the roster when Evans arrives on campus.

Evans could potentially compete for playing time in the slot and on special teams immediately; a more realistic scenario may involve a redshirt and apprenticeship behind Canteen before battling for a spot with Perry.

As has become the norm with Harbaugh recruits, Evans has positional flexibility; he could also end up at running back, cornerback, or safety.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Michigan has quickly worked their way up to nine commits in the class. The situation hasn't changed much since Kiante Enis committed earlier this week:

It's still far too early to take a stab at the final numbers for this class; it's clear the coaches are eyeing a class in the neighborhood of 20-25 prospects, which would require a decent but not unreasonable amount of attrition before Signing Day. Wide receiver, tight end, offensive line, defensive tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker, and—depending on where Enis and maybe Evans end up—defensive back remain areas of need.

Michigan entered the week at 35th nationally on the 247 Composite team rankings. After adding Michael Onwenu, Enis, and Evans, they've shot up to 20th.

Comments

alum96

June 6th, 2015 at 2:33 PM ^

Really liking the position flexibility with these 2 last pickups - hoping Enis becomes a rocket thumper at safety and Evans a true shifty slot with a bit of burner on him. 

http://cdn.smosh.com/sites/default/files/ftpuploads/bloguploads/1113/fabulous-kid-white-dance.gif

Don

June 6th, 2015 at 2:39 PM ^

I think he's too dangerous with the ball in his hands. His size, speed, and ability to accelerate out of quick, fluid cuts reminds me a bit of Desmond Howard.

WolvinLA2

June 6th, 2015 at 2:43 PM ^

The Indiana state track meet was yesterday, and I was just looking over the results.  

Chris Evans didn't participate at all in the 100m, so I'm not sure what the quote above was referring to saying he qualified for the finals, unless he qualified but didn't run it for some reason.  He was on the winning 4x100 team.  Maybe most impressive is that he jumped 21' 7.25" in the long jump, which is very impressive.  Long Jump combines short burst speed and vertical jump, the latter of which is a very good measure of explosiveness.  Being explosive is a great quality in a slot receiver (or any other position, for that matter). He is also a good hurdler, which is good for hip fluidity and flexibility.  

On the other side of the coin, we likely jumped the gun on the "Holy shit Kiante Enis is super fast" thing.  He finished 24th in the 100m with a time of 11.44.  His seed time was 11.09, so that's likely what he clocked at regionals.  Needless to say, that 10.54 time was super inaccurate as Pescadero stated.  If Kiante is about an 11-flat 100 meter guy as a 200lb junior, that's very good speed.  It's not, however, Wheatley/Denard speed like some were suggesting.

WolvinLA2

June 6th, 2015 at 2:57 PM ^

Let me reiterate that this does not make Kiante Enis slow.  If he gets down to around the 10.8 area his senior year, that puts him as fast or faster than all but about 3 or 4 guys on our team, and Enis is bigger than all of those guys save Peppers.  sub-11 100m speed at over 200 pounds is great athleticism, it's just not crazy freak level like we thought.

SouthSideBlue

June 7th, 2015 at 8:54 AM ^

I looked Enis and Evans up on Dystat (a website dedicated to T&F). Enis has two verified 100m times under 11 flat. 10.53 at the county meet and 10.96 at Sectionals. The 10.53 is either hand timed, with a CRAZY tailwind or possibly both . But the sectional time has to be FAT which would make his speed legit. Evans doesn't have any 100m times recorded as he primarily seems to be a jumper (22' long jumper - WolinLA2 did a great job explaining what that means) but his leadoff leg on a 4x1 that ran 41.20 is nothing to sneeze at - ESPECIALLY considering Ben Davis didn't have any sprinters qualify in the 100m and only one qualify in the 200m.

WolvinLA2

June 8th, 2015 at 1:19 AM ^

I think Enis is about an 11-flat 100m guy.  That sectionals time is likely legit, and his seed time at the state meet was 11.06.  That's likely about where he is, with the 11.44 time and 10.53 time both outliers for different reasons.  That's still very legit speed for a junior, especially one as big as him.  

I had the same thought as you about Evans and his 4x1 team.  41.2 is crazy fast - I was on a team in high school that ran low 42s and I was the slowest guy on that relay at about 11 flat.  We didn't have anyone who was a total blazer, but it sounds like they don't either or he would have run the 100 open.  Since they don't, each one of those guys has to be in the high 10s.  Bottom line, Evans is also very fast, most likely faster than Enis.  

Rabbit21

June 6th, 2015 at 8:56 PM ^

Love this news and it's interesting to pull so many guys from Indiana.  Glad to see the regional footprint is staying strong.

 

welcome aboard Chris!

 

DairyQueen

June 6th, 2015 at 9:35 PM ^

I'm sitting here laughing at his little "track racer's lunge" he does right as he crosses into the endzone!

It's in his junior highlights tape.

EDIT: Also the one where he falls just afterwards is super funny. I love goofy players!

dragonchild

June 6th, 2015 at 10:01 PM ^

Anyone shifty-jukey is labeled a slot receiver.  They can't ALL be slot receivers, and especially in this system Harbaugh isn't recruiting them as such.

tomiwe

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