Caleb Evans is so close to the University of Arkansas he can taste it and he's ready to make a statement.
Along with fellow Arkansas signee Rudell Crim, Evans is finishing up classes at Arkansas Baptist University. The classes conclude next Wednesday and the pair expects to be on their new campus by the end of next week.
"I've been down here in Little Rock taking classes and stuff like that; just working real hard and doing the best I can to make sure I'll be eligible," Evans said. "I haven't signed yet, but I will be signing within the next two weeks. We have to wait after they send my grades in and it'll only take a couple of days after that, so I should be signing by the end of the month. I'm real excited about it and I know this is what I want to do. I can't wait to get up there."
A transfer from San Marcos Palomar Community College in California, Evans was Arkansas' last commitment of the class of 2009 when he realized he could be eligible for the upcoming season by taking three classes in the summer. Several schools were – and still are – offering him in the class of 2010.
"I have a lot of schools that are still talking to me now because I haven't signed at Arkansas," said Evans, who reports two As and a B in his current classes. "I've had a couple of instances where they've talked to me about not even signing with Arkansas and coming to play for them. Arkansas has done a good job of helping me find the classes that I needed to take down here and just not messing with me; I like that. My loyalty is to Arkansas since they've helped me out so much.
"In 2010 there were some really good offers but I probably still would have ended up here even though there were some good offers. I really like the fact that I'll be coached by Bobby Petrino. He's from my hometown (Helena, Mont.) and my hometown absolutely loves him and they know that he knows what he's doing. When you have a man that takes a team nowhere and puts them into national championship contention – I promise you it's only bound to happen again. The man is a winner. He knows not only how to throw the pigskin, he knows how to run the pigskin and he knows how to dominate. You're about to see that in the SEC; I can promise you that."
Having moved to the Natural State earlier in the summer, Evans has acclimated to the culture in Arkansas, as well as sports radio. He said he is ready to get on the field to end the speculation around Arkansas' defense in 2009.
"A lot of people are underestimating the Razorbacks. All I hear is how we were the worst defense in the SEC last year. Yes, we were but we're playing this year, so next question. I'm tired of hearing all the negative talk and I'm ready to make a statement. Those are the type players the coaches have recruited; we are going to make a statement this year. I'm telling you, I promise you this year we are going to be good. We are going to be a team that isn't going to be taken lightly.
"These coaches know what they are doing. I think Bobby Petrino is one of the smartest men coaching football. He knows how to recruit and he's shown that in the past."
One way Petrino and his staff have shown they can recruit is in the junior college ranks. Evans is one of seven junior college transfers that signed in February to play for the Razorbacks in a class that also included a prep school transfer and Broderick Green, a running back transfer from Southern Cal.
Thanks to his ties in California, Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson was able to land five of those junior college transfers from the Golden State, including four slated to play on his defense in the coming year.
"Everyone I've heard is coming in cracks skulls," Evans said. "Anthony Leon is coming in from the Sequoias and he's a safety. I know he can crack skulls. My coach from California was trying to recruit him before he went to the College of the Sequoias and he had nothing but positive things to say about him. If he ever gets on a Razorback field, you guys better have a hearse because people are going to get hurt.
"I'm working out with Crim and he can play corner and safety which makes him a double threat; he's big enough to play safety and can hit, but he's quick enough to play corner. I personally know working out with the man for the last six weeks now that he's ready to get up there. He's a special kid with a lot of abilities. He can play receiver, running back, he can play corner and he can play safety. He can even throw the pigskin a lot better than people think he can. If he ends up playing – and I know he will – we're going to have a lot of power on that defense."
Evans said the impact of junior college guys on an SEC defense will be a key because of the mentality they bring.
"When you bring in a JUCO player it does two things: you've got a situation where you've got some mold to the person," Evans said. "He's not where most guys are coming in. He's in a different kind of mode; in the junior college mode. And the next thing you have is a lot of time the kids that are recruited out of the SEC are a different build. When you have guys coming in from JC schools; JC schools don't baby you. You're on your own and it forces you to be more mature. It's just different and play different. I'm not saying JC kids are more mature or anything, I'm just saying you have to fend for yourselves there.
"A lot of kids that are really good coming out of JC schools, they develop talent on their own. It shows your heart right there. If you can overcome that, you don't feel anything is impossible. That's what I think; kids that come from a JC school appreciate their opportunities a lot more, too. They don't' take it for granted as much. They appreciate they have a scholarship, they appreciate that they're being taken care of because a lot of JC schools I know you have to pay your own food, your own transportation and if you get hurt you're on your own; you've got to drive yourself to the hospital. I just feel a lot of kids get a chance and they want to be on the field and want to perform; those are they type guys we have coming in."
Evans nears finish line
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