One of the biggest recruiting targets remaining on the Tennessee Vols’ recruiting board is five-star running back Zach Evans.
By now, everyone should know the story with Evans. He signed a National Letter of Intent with the Georgia Bulldogs during the early signing period, but was released from the NLI just after the New Year.
Evans ran into some trouble during his high school career (the infamous cell phone incident and a mysterious suspension), but it’s unclear exactly what happened with Georgia (the Bulldogs continued to pursue him for a while after he was released from his NLI).
The recruitment of the five-star running back has turned into a strange saga with no shortage of twists and turns.
Texas A&M appeared to be the favorite at one point. Evans’ interest in the Aggies almost certainly expedited the announcement of Jay Graham as Tennessee’s new running backs coach (Graham recruited Evans at Texas A&M).
Then, out of nowhere, Ole Miss suddenly became a major factor for Evans (Lane Kiffin is apparently following the same SEC script that he followed a decade ago at Tennessee).
What makes this even more wild is that Evans reportedly can’t sign another NLI, so nothing is going to be settled on National Signing Day. Evans’ recruitment will essentially continue until he enrolls somewhere later this spring/summer.
I think it’s fair to wonder if pursuing Evans is worth it for the Vols. It seems like they’re spending a lot of time and energy on a really talented kid who could easily turn into the next Bryce Brown (loads of talent but can’t stay away from controversy).
The Vols are actually in good shape at running back. It’s not like the need Evans, so they can afford to wait on him. But at this point, I think the biggest upside to landing him is keeping him away from another SEC program.
Of course, given the nature of Evans’ recruitment, it’s also fair to speculate that he might not stick around at whichever school he enrolls at this summer.
Will he always have an eye for the transfer portal once he arrives at a school?
Fans should be excited if Jeremy Pruitt and the Vols land Evans — simply because it’ll be a great example of Pruitt’s ability to close with a high profile recruit.
But they shouldn’t be upset if Evans heads elsewhere. If Evans chooses Ole Miss (or whoever), it’s not an indictment on Tennessee’s ability to recruit.
It would simply be another twist in one of the most bizarre recruiting sagas I’ve ever seen.
Featured image via 247Sports