Buckeye Coaches Pay Visit To Evans

Ohio State has sent plenty of talented wide receivers to the NFL, and the Buckeyes are hoping that pedigree will help a player like Shaquelle Evans leave California and join the program. Find out who was in town to see Evans practice on Wednesday, what they thought and what the chances might be of landing a visit from the five-star prospect.

After landing the nation's top quarterback prospect in its class of 2008, Ohio State is going to need some big-time targets to throw to.

A few are already slated to be on campus this fall in the form of DeVier Posey, Jake Stoneburner and Lamaar Thomas, but the Buckeyes have just one verbal commitment from a wideout for their class of 2009 in the form of Painesville (Ohio) Harvey's Chris Fields, a three-star prospect. With the goal of landing at least one more wide receiver this year, the Buckeyes have cast a wide net and are hoping to ensnare a five-star target from California.

That prospect is Shaquelle Evans, a 6-2, 200-pound wide receiver from Inglewood, Calif. However, the Buckeyes are far from the only school showing interest in Evans.

"Right now I'm getting ready to walk to the other side of the campus because Ken Norton is here," Khalid Ali, an assistant coach who helps Evans with his recruitment, told BuckeyeSports.com on Wednesday. "Yesterday UCLA was here and Michigan was here last week. They really like him. Ohio State has been in here, and Arizona State, LSU, Oklahoma, Boise State. A lot of schools have been through here. Notre Dame should be here next week."

Later that day, though, two somewhat unexpected visitors showed up: OSU recruiting coordinator John Peterson and another unidentified assistant coach for the Buckeyes. The two took in the team's voluntary workouts and left impressed – as do most coaches, Ali said.

"It went pretty well," Ali said. "They seemed to like the workouts and seemed to be impressed with him. There were a bunch of coaches there … and they were all saying he's a three-year kid and he could play right away, stuff like that. You hear it all the time."

In addition, USC, Oregon and Nevada all had coaches on hand for the workout. Notre Dame is expected to be there Thursday.

As a junior, Evans had 37 catches for 700 yards and six touchdowns. Scout.com ranks him as the No. 6 wide receiver prospect in the country.

Growing up on the left coast, Evans is understandably familiar with what the local powerhouse programs have to offer. Both USC and UCLA are paying him plenty of attention, but those schools are not likely to get official visits from Evans owing to the number of times he has been able to visit them unofficially.

When it comes time to plan official visits, Evans will likely be headed east. OSU, Michigan, Notre Dame and LSU are all early contenders to land official visits.

The Buckeyes might have a slight edge on the Wolverines, though.

"They offered before Michigan did," Ali said. "(Wideouts) coach (Darrell) Hazell has been asking questions and trying to recruit him. Ohio State does have interest in him. Coach Hazell likes him a lot.

"They like the way he catches the ball at its highest point and he's not afraid of contact. He always turns the ball up the field, and he's a good student too. They like those things about him. They think he could come in and make an impact."

Ali described Evans as a "college football junkie," saying he has an appreciation for the history of the game. As such, he is well-versed on the past successes of programs such as Ohio State and will not be worried about distance when he makes a college decision.

"He recognizes them as a great institution and he recognizes them as a program that's worthy of going across the country to check out," he said. "He will make his decision and it will be about football. He's a very good student and he looks into things of that nature, like curriculums and the types of academic programs they have. (Distance) doesn't really bother him like that."

Although there is plenty of time remaining in Evans' case, the Buckeyes are hoping to keep up the pressure and land an official visit. From there, the hope is the overall experience is enough to coerce him to come there.

Only time will tell if that approach will be enough to land another elite target for Terrelle Pryor to throw to.


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