5-Star Zachary Evans Impressed by Vol Fans’ Passion

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    (Photo via Brian Perroni/247Sports)

    Tennessee got five-star running back Zachary Evans on campus for an official visit, and Vol fans helped give him a good first impression for his first extended stay in Knoxville.

    Evans arrived in Knoxville on Friday for his official visit to campus, and some Vol fans decided to paint the rock on campus to welcome Evans in for his trip.

    Well, Evans saw the welcoming message, and he was impressed by the reception.

    The five-star running back posted a video to his Instagram story on Saturday of him reacting to the painting on the rock, adding the caption “They love tha kid here.” Instagram stories can’t be embedded into articles, so here is a screenshot of the video:

    Evans originally signed with Georgia but then asked to be released from his National Letter of Intent. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound back has become a hot commodity on the market ever since reopening his recruitment, as Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Florida, and even Georgia are all in the mix for the talented back.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Evans is the No. 11 overall prospect and the No. 1 running back in the 2020 class. He’s also the No. 1 prospect in the state of Texas by those rankings.

    Evans played for North Shore in Houston, Texas and put together another strong season as a senior, totaling 1,600 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns on only 127 carries, averaging an astounding 12.6 yards per carry. He was named the MaxPreps National Junior of the Year in 2018 when he totaled 1,785 rushing yards and 29 scores. That followed a sophomore campaign where Evans ran for 1,483 yards and 27 touchdowns. As a senior, MaxPreps named him to the Second Team Offense for their All-American teams.

    At a regional camp for Nike’s The Opening back in March of 2019, Evans ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash and posted a 3.84-second shuttle time. He also boasted a 37.2-inch vertical leap.

    Evans had been to Knoxville before, but it had been nearly a full year since his last trip. Evans took an unofficial trip to UT’s campus back on January 27, 2019, but that was the only time he’d been on Tennessee’s campus before this weekend. Earlier this week, UT sent ace recruiter Brian Niedermeyer to visit Evans, and that visit and the rest of Tennessee’s coaches convinced Evans to make the official visit to Knoxville this weekend.

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    On the field, Evans is one of the top talents in the country. But Evans has faced multiple issues off the field and was suspended multiple times as a senior.

    During the All-American Game earlier this month, Evans issued a public apology for his actions that got him suspended for North Shore’s Class 6A Division I state title game. Evans was sent home due to a violation of team rules that reportedly involved cell phone usage.

    “I want to apologize to my college coaches and apologize for the things that they are hearing,” Evans said on ESPN2. β€œI’m really a good kid.”

    β€œIt was stupid. It was an immature decision. I was being selfish to my teammates, and I’m ready to come in and show them I’m ready.”

    Evans took a visit to Ole Miss this past weekend and was scheduled to visit Florida next weekend, January 31st, but he has since canceled that visit.

    Since Evans signed an NLI with Georgia and got released from it, it’s believed that he cannot sign another NLI for National Signing Day on February 5th. Evans can commit to a school and can sign a financial aid agreement, but those agreements are non-binding. Whichever school Evans chooses will likely just have to wait it out until he arrives on campus in the summer.



    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.