I played Indiana high school football and "in my day" there wasn't much talent. Of course, I didn't add much to the talent pool, but times have changed. Recently, Indiana has been sending players to some of the top football programs in the country. When college coaches make their way to Indiana for top juniors, the first place they are going to look is three-time class 5A state football champion Warren Central. Once they arrive, one of the first players that catch their eye is running back Darren Evans (6-0, 210 pounds).
"Darren Evans was the EA Sport.com national player of the year as a sophomore," Warren Central head coach Kevin Wright said of his standout. "He's a physical kid. He's got good size. He runs with a lot of authority. He's a guy that can break the long one. As a sophomore he had 11 runs that were over 50 yards. He was somewhere around that number this year as well.
"Darren rushed for just under 2,200 yards but averaged 9.7 yards per carry. And most of your yards are between the tackles. He also had 39 touchdowns."
"He's a strong guy," Wright said. "He's the type that will literally take over games. We broke that all-time single season rushing record in the state. We rushed for over 6,000 yards. There were games over the last two years where we just put it on his back and people had difficulty stopping him. He hits the hole very quickly. He makes subtle cuts, and then breaks tackles. He has a good combination of speed and size. He's a kid that is that linebacker type, although we don't play him on defense."
Wright grew up in a football family, his father Larry has won seven state titles at Sheridan high school where Indiana legend Brett Law played. Given his background, Wright certainly knows a talented football player when he straps on a helmet.
"He's probably more of a LenDale White type of runner," coach Wright said when asked to compare Evans' running style. "He doesn't look like he's that fast. He looks like a bruiser, but he's got the speed and ability to make plays. I think he would be a nice fit at Notre Dame with the type of things they like to do. I think he could play tailback or fullback. I see him fitting in different ways. When I was talking to the Ohio State coaches I told them that they don't have a player like Darren."
"We run the Navy spread option and he's our "B" back," coach Wright continued. "They line up at the fullback position, but they need to have the qualities of a tailback. Adrian Peterson who played at Georgia Southern and is playing in the NFL played the same position in college."
Notre Dame loaded their backfield with an Indiana product recently as James Aldridge reported to campus, but repeating that feat won't be easy as the competition for Evan's signature will heavy.
"Michigan, Ohio State," coach Wright quickly started to list the schools that were recruiting Evans. "Everyone from UCLA to Miami, Florida State, Auburn and LSU. When you're a top 100 kid that's on everyone's list -- everyone is interested. He's getting a lot of attention from everybody.
"Coach Ferentz from Iowa is coming in to talk with him next week. It's the first time the University of Iowa has been down here recruiting."