By JERAMY STOVER, Sports Editor
It wasn’t exactly supposed to happen this way; not too many people on the outside saw this coming.
Freshman running back Chris Evans broke out onto the scene Saturday afternoon after he helped lead his new Michigan Wolverines football team to a 63-3 victory over Hawaii.
Evans amassed 112 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns. He finished the game averaging 14-yards per rush.
The 3-star prospect, according to Rivals.com, was one of Jim Harbaugh’s first commitments at a satellite camp in June of last year. Considered an athlete on the recruiting website, he was the 32nd ranked player at his position. He held scholarship offers from Michigan’s two biggest rivals, Michigan State and Ohio State.
But Evans choose Michigan, which already had a large stable of running backs. With De’Veon Smith, Drake Johnson, Ty Isaac and Derrick Green all ahead of him, it didn’t seem like there’d be much carries to go around. Even after Green transferred away, there were still plenty of mouths to feed–not to mention a couple recruits from the same class as Evans.
But in the season opening game, Drake Johnson and Kareem Walker–one of the recruits that was more highly touted than Evans–didn’t suit up for the game, which helped give Evans more carries. As it showed throughout the contest, he wasn’t going to let them go to waste.
“I knew I was going to get a couple [carries] so I just made sure I made the best of it every time I got [the ball]. So I was like ‘I got to go I can’t mess up,’ and make sure I do every time coach told me or that would be my last time,” Evans said.
And he certainly did just that. Evans scored on back-to-back drives including a 43-yard score on the first drive of the third quarter. He showed off his elusive ability and breakaway speed. On all eight of his carries, Evans proved he’s tough to tackle.
“From the first day of camp he was making plays. After two days of training camp we all knew who Chris Evans was,” Wilton Speight said. “The best part is he doesn’t let anything get to his head and he just goes about his business.”
Evans could be an integral part of the Wolverines offense this season if he continues to run like he did on Saturday. The Wolverines have been looking for that running back that can shake off a defender and use an extra gear to speed past the rest of defense.
His quarterback wasn’t the only one to spill the beans on what the team has seen in Evans since camp has started. Head coach Jim Harbaugh gave his freshman running back high praise as well.
“I knew Chris Evans was special, what you saw today is what we’ve been seeing in practice for the last month; he’s a special football player,” Harbaugh said. “And you really didn’t get to see everything that he can do because he can catch the ball out of the backfield, he can lineup as a receiver you’ll see that at times in the near future as a returner both as a punt returner and kick returner. He’s a very special player.”