UNC Made Lasting Impression on Evans

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. --- The lives of Donta Evans and Tomon Fox have been intertwined since birth. However, the pair has never played on the same football team. Could that change in college?

“If I got to play behind Tomon – with me playing linebacker and him playing end – that would be great,” Evans said. “I trust him 100-percent. I see him work every day. He works very hard and he’s incredibly strong. It would be great to play alongside him.

“I’m not sure we’ll come as a package deal, but [each other’s decisions] might have some kind of effect on where we go.”

Both Evans and Fox were born in the same town, Orangeburg, S.C., and knew each other growing up. They were eventually separated when Fox moved to Georgia. However, they reunited in late January when Evans moved to Lawrenceville, a neighboring town of Suwanee where Fox has been residing.

Though their reuniting didn’t beget becoming teammates – Evans enrolled at Archer, while Fox has been a standout at rival Collins Hill – the duo has been working out together this offseason at Georgia Sports Performance (side note: North Carolina signee Nick Polino also works out at Georgia Sports Performance).

This potential merger could impact UNC’s 2016 recruiting class. Evans and Fox both attended UNC’s Junior Day earlier in the month. Shortly thereafter, Fox crowned the Tar Heels his leader. Evans’s feelings weren’t as strong, but he listed UNC among his favorite schools.

“Just about everybody who I share the same offer with has talked to me about playing with them,” Evans said. “Just like my boy James Valdez – as soon as I got the offer from NC State, ten minutes later he calls me, ‘So bro, you going to commit?’ Same with Kobe Smith, he’s been recruiting me for NC State.

“[Fox and I] joke around about it a lot, but I’m not too sure. I don’t have my mind focused on a No. 1 yet. I still have a few more visits to take to see what the coaches are about.”

Evans continues to list Auburn, Kentucky, and UNC as his favorite schools – all three have offered. But, he has left the door wide open for alterations to that grouping.

“I’ve picked up a few offers since [naming my top three] and I haven’t had a chance to see Wake Forest or Louisville or NC State yet,” Evans said. “I’m pretty sure NC State is going to make a great impression. I went up there for a game. I didn’t get to see much, but I loved the game atmosphere.”

The past couple of months, Evans visited Auburn, Kentucky, and UNC. Since the last of those visits – UNC on March 7 – he has collected offers from Louisville and Wake Forest.

The only visit Evans has on his schedule is NC State this Saturday. In addition to planning inaugural trips to Louisville and Wake Forest, he’s looking forward to getting back to UNC.

“[Returning to UNC] is the big goal right now,” Evans said. “I was really impressed with what I saw at North Carolina. That was the best visit I’ve been on so far. It was really exciting and very intense. I’m really looking forward to getting back up there.”

The unique nature of UNC’s Junior Days is what made it stand out.

“Usually, junior days are pretty mellow,” Evans said. “They just talk to you about the program [and] the coaches don’t really show too much excitement. But throughout the day – even along with them showing the academic part of the school, which is great [including] a top five business school in the country – [Larry Fedora] was yelling and he was just as hyped as he would have been on the field. That really jumped out to me.”

Evans hopes to return to UNC this summer and then again during the season to see the game day atmosphere of Kenan Stadium plus the defensive scheme in person.

Though Charlton Warren is his lead recruiter, Evans speaks just as often – if not more – to John Papuchis, UNC’s new linebackers coach.

“Tomon and I are ready to play early, so they told me if I come in as a true freshman it’s possible that I could start,” Evans said. “That’s a big plus to any athlete going to college. They said they need a true Mike [linebacker] or a true Will [linebacker], and I’m comfortable playing either one.

“I love the defense that they run and I love Coach JP’s style of coaching. The physical mentality is what I’m all about – Smart, Fast, and Physical.”

Evans said he is also drawn to the reputation of UNC’s business department.



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