Varina High School
HS Position: Outside Linebacker
College Position: Weakside Linebacker
Main Strengths: Range, Coverage Ability, and Potential
Main Weaknesses: Technique, Size and Block Shedding
Marell Evans is generally listed as a safety prospect but will most likely play outside linebacker in college. Evans has outgrown the position and has limited upside as a safety but could blossom at linebacker. Anyone that saw 2006 commit Quintin Patilla play in high school would see many parallels between him and Evans at this point in their careers. While I think the two are much alike, I think Evans has a tad more potential due to his superior size and overall range.
Athleticism is the main strength in Evans game. I don’t expect his speed to fall off once he starts packing on some bulk. Evans can run from sideline to sideline all game long and is a natural playmaker on the field. For his size, he plays very tough and doesn’t seem to shy away from contact. He had several big time hits in the game I saw him play on tape.
Evans played moved to linebacker for the 2006 season after playing safety in previous years. That's why it was surprising to see how instinctual he was at his backer spot. He demonstrates an understanding of blocking progressions and his angles are generally on all game long. Occasionally Evans will try to take the backdoor to the play because of his great athleticism, but overall, I would say pursuit angles are a strength of his heading into college. He is also a solid cover man that is strong in both man and zone coverage.
The downside to only having played the linebacker position for a short amount of time is he needs a lot of work on his technique. He is not a strong block shedder despite having good arm length. He doesn’t work his hands enough and lets blockers into his body too easily. He also doesn’t have the playing strength or technique to anchor at the point of attack. He plays with little to no knee bend and is usually way too high when taking on blocks. The good news is all of these deficiencies are correctable through hard work and good coaching.
I can’t see Marell Evans being an immediate impact player but down the line he could be blossom into a starter, or at the very least a quality reserve. Much will depend on how his first couple years in college go. His two main areas of improvement are getting bigger and his overall technique. He isn’t ranked higher because he is largely viewed as a project, which I think is justified. However, if Evans can make strides in the aforementioned areas, he could end up being a diamond in the rough for the Wolverines.