Zach Evans is a 6-foot, 200-pound running back who some have said is the most talented back to come out of Texas since Adrian Peterson.
The No. 16-ranked college football recruit in the Class of 2020, Evans was one of the most coveted prospects to come out of the Houston areas in years. And to say he had a wild recruitment would be an understatement.
From a would-be signing with Georgia, ups and downs with his state championship-winning high school team and a waiting game in recent months, the five-star prospect finally ended his winding recruitment on Monday by enrolling at TCU.
Here’s a timeline of how the last year-plus of his recruitment progressed:
Feb. 8, 2019: Evans, a highly touted running back from North Shore High School in Houston, is designated the No. 1 overall prospect in the ESPN Junior 300 rankings. In his junior season in 2018, he rushed for more than 1,700 yards and 29 touchdowns while helping the Mustangs to a state championship.
May 28, 2019: Evans announces his top five schools: Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State and Oklahoma. Even so, Evans continues to take visits to schools around the country, including in-state programs Texas and Texas A&M, in the following month.
June 7, 2019: One of Evans’ teammates, North Shore offensive tackle Damieon George, commits to Alabama. A week before this, Evans tells 247sports.com that he and George are “a package deal,” giving Alabama an apparent inside track to Evans. Earlier that week, Evans visited the Crimson Tide.
July 26, 2019: Evans takes an unofficial visit to Georgia. Following the visit, as most prospects do, he tweets images of himself wearing a Georgia uniform.
— Zach Evans (@Runzekerun01) July 29, 2019
Sept. 5, 2019: Evans misses North Shore’s second game of the season for what is termed “disciplinary reasons,” following the team’s season-opening loss to Katy High. North Shore coach Jon Kay tells the Houston Chronicle: “We’re working through some things but we love him to death, he’s a great teammate and we’re going to continue to work.” He also was reportedly planning to announce his commitment on this day, but does not.
Sept. 20, 2019: Evans tweets, “I’ve decided.” No announcement date is indicated.
I’ve decided 💯
— Zach Evans (@Runzekerun01) September 20, 2019
Sept. 27, 2019: After missing two games, Evans returns to the North Shore lineup and rushes for 133 yards and two touchdowns on only eight carries in a 56-3 win over La Porte High.
Oct. 26, 2019: Evans takes an official visit to LSU. The Tigers, who are in the midst of a historic season, are considered to be heavily in the mix.
Nov. 15, 2019: Evans takes an official visit to Texas A&M. Jimbo Fisher and his staff have been persistent in recruiting Evans, who appears to be leaving the door cracked open for the Aggies.
Dec. 1, 2019: Evans says he’ll announce on Dec. 4 where he’s going to school. The finalists listed have now been narrowed to four, and unlike his summer top five, an in-state program is included. Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Texas A&M are the finalists.
The No. 1 RB recruit in the 2020 class, Zach Evans, takes the handoff and goes 14 yards untouched for a touchdown.
Dec. 3, 2019: Evans changes course and decides to delay his announcement. He pegs the Under Armour All-American Game, in which he’s playing on Jan. 2, as the new announcement date.
Dec. 14, 2019: Attempting to graduate early in hopes of enrolling at his school of choice for the spring semester, Evans misses the majority of the first half of North Shore’s state semifinal game vs. Lake Travis because he is taking the ACT. He took the test in Houston before traveling to Round Rock, Texas, where the game was held. Despite missing much of the game, Evans finishes with 176 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries in a 49-38 win.
Dec. 19, 2019: The early signing period begins and Evans quietly signs and sends a letter of intent to Georgia, while still intending to announce publicly his decision at the Under Armour All-American Game.
Dec. 21, 2019: Though North Shore is pursuing a second consecutive state title, Evans will not play in the championship game. He is sent home before the game by the coaches for violating team rules, his second such disciplinary measure during his senior season. The Mustangs go on to beat Duncanville in the state championship game without the star running back. Questions arise about Evans after having multiple run-ins with his coaches.
Dec. 28, 2019: During check-in at the Under Armour All-American Game, Evans confirmed that he has officially signed his letter of intent during the early signing period.
Jan. 2, 2020: Evans reportedly changes gears and decides not to announce his decision. He gives an on-camera interview to ESPN’s Matt Schick during the game, with Deion Sanders sitting next to him, and Evans issues an apology. “First and foremost, I just want to apologize to my college coaches, for everything that’s going on and what they’re hearing,” Evans said. “I am really a good kid. I came in and I learned from some former professionals how to overcome adversity. I made some stupid decisions and I am ready to compete at the next level.”
Jan. 7, 2020: As the spring semester begins at the university, Georgia releases Evans from his letter of intent. Though Evans is no longer the top-ranked player in the class, he still is the top-ranked running back prospect in the country. LSU and Texas A&M are considered among the candidates to land him. Because he has already signed a letter of intent, he cannot sign another during this recruiting cycle, even though he was released.
Jan. 17, 2020: Evans takes an official visit to Ole Miss.
Jan. 24, 2020: Evans takes an official visit to Tennessee.
Feb. 5, 2020: The regular signing period begins, but with no new announcement from Evans. With spring semester enrollment deadlines passed at most schools, Evans must wait to enroll at his school of choice for a summer semester.
Feb. 10, 2020: Evans posts an Instagram story soliciting direct messages from someone who can make him a highlight tape.
Feb. 19, 2020: A report from 247sports.com indicates that Evans has scheduled his fifth and final official visit to Florida on March 20.
March 13, 2020: The NCAA suspends in-person recruiting in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Evans can’t take his last official visit until the recruiting moratorium is lifted.
May 11, 2020: Evans enrolls at TCU, a school with which he was rarely, if ever, linked during the last year of his recruiting process. He is the first five-star recruit to sign with the Horned Frogs since ESPN began ranking recruits more than a decade ago.