Eastview C Evan Sanford Gets Midwest Interest

Evan Sanford, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound offensive lineman for Apple Valley (MN) Eastview, has helped lead the Lightning to a 9-1 record this season. They will face Farmington for the Section 1, Class AAAAA title Friday night. Sanford has helped lead the way for a potent rushing attack, paced by Jake Machacek, who has rushed for 2,126 yards and 31 touchdowns. GoldenSports.Net caught up with Sanford to learn the latest on his recruitment.

Evan Sanford helped lead the Lighning to a 5-5 mark last season as he played on an offensive line along with current Minnesota freshmen Ryan Ruckdashel and Jason Meinke. He was named Lake All-Conference as a junior.

Sanford helped lead the Lightning to a share of the Lake Conference title along with Eden Prairie. They will face undefeated Farmington Friday for a berth in the Class 5A state tournament.

Obviously, you have had a great season. Expectations were pretty high going into the year after you finished 5-5. Are you pleasantly surprised with how well you have played this year?
 
"Yes. Obviously getting a share of the Lake. We had a few goals going into the season. The overall one was playing late into November. One of them was taking the Lake Conference title. We did not get the whole part of it, but being co-champions is pretty important to us. We knew that we had a good team. We knew that we had a lot of weapons on offense and knew that we had a lot of guys who had not really played last season on defense, but they had a lot of potential. We came in with a lot of high expectations, but nothing wrong with actually executing and getting it done."
 
As members of the offensive line, you guys do not get the publicity like Jake Machacek has received. Is that still gratifying knowing that he is a great running back, but that you guys are a big part of why he is doing so well?
 
"Oh, yes. Definitely. Jake is phenomenal. He has like 2,100 yards and I know that he leads the state in scoring and I think that he leads the state in rushing. That's just awesome. I don't know what the percentage is, but it is a some form of mix between him and us on the offensive line. We are definitely happy to be a part of it. He'll be the first to tell you that he appreciates what the O-line does for him and we'll be the first to tell you that he is the only one we want behind us running the football. We have a lot of other talented running backs too, but Jake is awesome. It is great when he gets a lot of big yards and big runs, but he has a lot 7 or 8-yard runs that we feel that we are a big part of."
 
Is that something you take pride in even more since you are such a running team and don't pass the ball much? Teams know that you are going to run it 80% of the time, yet you are still able to get six, seven, eight, nine yards per carry.
 
"Definitely. When we look at film and see that they have eight or nine guys in the box and we are still able to run the football, that is something that is phenomenal. It is just great to be a part of. Everyone is really excited. A cousin of mine came up to watch the football game and he was just blown away when we play played Century and they had nine in the box and we said that we were going to run "iso" right down your throat and it worked."
 
What schools are you hearing from right now?
 
"A lot of Ivy League schools. Cornell, Harvard, Princeton and Columbia are really recruiting me hard. Past that, I am still getting a little recruitment from three Division I schools heavily -- Minnesota, Northwestern and Wisconsin. Past that, there are a lot of small D1 schools that I have been in contact with. After that, it is a lot of D1-AA and D2 scholarship schools like Duluth, South Dakota State, Illinois State and Northern Iowa. Schools like that. Just a lot of schools and kind of seeing where it pans out with the D1 schools and after that, it is open."
 
Do you have a favorite? Would you rather go D1, if you can? Or are you looking for the best academic situation or a little bit of both, academic and athletic?
 
"It is definitely both. Academics are important to me, but I know that I want to play at the highest caliber of football school that I can and that is important to me. That they are competitive at their level. We'll see what happens. It will be interesting. I'd like to play D1, but if that does not pan out, I'll be more than happy to play football somewhere."
 
Have you been to many college games this year?
 
"I went and watched one at the "U" when they played Wisconsin. I've been to a lot of the smaller ones around here. I've been able to come out on a Saturday afternoon and watch. I made a stop at Duluth. I made a stop at St. Cloud. I was going to go to Mankato, but I did not have a chance to. That was something I was going to do."
 
Who all has offered you a scholarship so far?
 
"No one has offered me a full scholarship anywhere. All four of those Ivy League schools have guaranteed me admission and said that if you come here, we'll give you financial aid and said that you should play football for us.
 
Have you thought much about your major?
 
"It is something that I have thought about, but not really that extensively. I know that I'm interested in business. I know that I'm interested in law and I know that I'm interested in education. I don't know where that is going to take me, but one of those three is probably where I am going to be focusing."
 
You mentioned that you went to a Minnesota game and they have three former Lightning players on their roster. Is that something that is a little bit appealing as well knowing that Ryan, Jason and John are down there?
 
"Oh, yeah. I'm pretty good friends with the two that just went there, Ruck and Jason Meinke. That's nice, but that's part of their thing. I'm looking for myself right now. It's nice, but it is not anything that would affect me and my decision."
 
Jason is walking-on there. Is that something that would appealing, being a Division 1 walk-on or would you rather be a scholarship kid? Have you even thought that far ahead?
 
"I've thought about it, but it is really one of those things that I'm kind of thinking I'll cross when I come to it. When someone asks me "Hey, we want you to walk-on, we don't want to offer you," then that is when I will really sit down and think about it hard. I have not thought about it that much, to be honest with you. It has crossed my mind, but I don't know what I'll do yet."
 
What position are most teams looking at you as?
 
"Center is by far the most. Center and guard. A lot of teams, especially in the Ivy League, they are saying that they want a true center to play, instead of a converted guard or something. That is something that is appealing to them. One of the interior three is where I am going to look at."
 
Obviously you are a good student if you are getting Ivy looks. What is your GPA?
 
"3.6. I've qualified and got all that stuff done. It is just a question of applying and being accepted, if that is where I want to go."
 

Gopher Illustrated Top Stories