Former Arkansas running back Denzell Evans committed to transfer to SMU in late May as a graduate student. Due to a holdup in getting Evans a scholarship, he will not be coming to SMU, sources told PonyStampede. Evans told PonyStampede Sunday that he is transferring to Kansas. He will be eligible immediately and have two years left, once he finishes a summer class at Arkansas on August 4.
SMU's only way to get Evans a roster spot was to offer him a blueshirt. A blueshirt means a player can play immediately and is on scholarship, but his scholarship won’t count toward the 85-scholarship limit until the next class. To give a player a blueshirt, he cannot have been a recruited athlete in high school. That means the team that wants to offer him a blueshirt cannot have visited him in a contact period or hosted him on an official visit when he was in high school. Blue shirts can also be offered to high school players who weren’t recruited athletes.
SMU’s previous coaching staff visited Evans’ school, Houston Bellaire, in a contact period. A contact period is when a coach can visit a high school and talk with a recruit in person. The most notable ones are in early December and late January. The NCAA recruiting calendar lists all contact periods, evaluation periods and quite periods.
A team can only offer a blueshirt if it signed 25 players in its most recent recruiting class and those 25 players did not get the team to the 85-man limit. SMU met both of those requirements in 2016. It has two current blueshirts, Australian punter Jamie Sackville and Waskom (Texas) athlete Chandrin Amie.
Originally a member of the 2013 recruiting class, Evans flipped to Arkansas from Houston on Signing Day 2013. He also held offers from Arizona State, Colorado, Kansas State, Michigan State, Minnesota and SMU. He was a first-team all-district selection his senior year, rushing for 1,147 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Evans played mostly on special teams at Arkansas. He redshirted the 2013 season and totaled a combined 13 carries for 84 yards in 2014 and 2015. He scored two touchdowns in Arkansas’ 2016 spring game, but chose to transfer from the school on May 5.