The "athlete" label is attached rather loosely to college football recruits in today's environment, but occasionally you do run across a kid who genuinely defies any more narrow of a characterization. Such is the case of Monroe (Mich.) three-way performer Kris Evans. He starred on the field for Monroe High School last fall on offense, defense and special teams; college coaches are recruiting him for all positions.
The 5'11" 160-pound junior athlete primarily ran the ball for Trojans in 2003, picking up 802 yards on 116 carries (6.9 ypc). He also caught 23 balls for 225 yards, with a total of 14 touchdowns on offense. On defense he was an intimidating cornerback who was rarely thrown at by opposing offenses. Evans recorded 16 solo tackles, eight assists, five pass breakups and one interception. On special teams he ran back 15 kickoffs for a better than 27-yard average (408 total yards).
It comes as no surprise that Evans was named All-Conference and All-Region for both offense and defense. In fact, his own teammates voted him MVP for both offense and defense at the end of the 2003 season. He broke or tied eight different school records - and this was just his junior year.
"On offense, I see the field well and can accelerate upfield quickly. I know my blockers and follow them, then create," the all-around athlete describes. "On defense I read receivers well and get a lot of pass deflections. I'm more of a read-and-react guy; we don't really use press coverage at my school."
Evans is also a standout on the Monroe track team, running the 100m, 200m, 400m , 800m, relays, high jump and long jump. Basically, he does whatever is needed at a given meet for his team to score points, though the 400 is his specialty. His personal bests in the three shortest events are 10.9, 22.6 and 49.6 seconds, respectively.
"I get recruited mostly for cornerback and wideout," the talented Trojan tells us. "Though I want to run the ball in college, and also run back kick returns."
With a 3.9 GPA and 22 ACT (June retake, according to his mother), Stanford likes how his academics are shaping up. So much so, in fact, that wide receivers coach Ken Margerum made an offer to Evans in early April. That followed an Eastern Michigan offer and put the Cardinal on the map with this two-way athlete.
"I talked with the wide receivers coach and he said that I looked good. I ran the ball well and could be a wide receiver too. It depends on when the coach can come out and get a better look, but he basically likes my athleticism," Evans explains.
When speaking with his mother, Stephanie, there was a clear excitement about some more local options for the Monroe junior, though.
"In addition to the Eastern Michigan and Stanford offers, Notre Dame does a very good job," Stephanie Evans begins. "Connecticut, Iowa, Penn State, Harvard, Bowling Green and Northwestern are all recruiting him hard as well. Michigan is his favorite, though he is not hearing very much from them, which is kind of a shock to me. Notre Dame is number two for him. He would love to would love to stay close to home."
The son has a similar take on things, but is careful to give some love to the idea of going out West.
"That's my parents," the younger Evans says of the 'Michigan favorite' comment. "I'd like to go to Michigan, but I'm wide open. It depends on what I see and like at schools. Stanford is a good academic school, and I like the temperature out there. It's a whole different setting - a big campus, which I think I'd like. I would like to take a visit and see how I fit in, as a Midwestern kid. They also play in the Pac-10, which is a nice league, and they're competitive."
Evans was at the Columbus Nike Camp in April and put up numbers that he believes are not representative of his abilities. He ran a 4.5 in the 40 and a 4.2 in the pro shuttle, which leaping to a 37.6" vertical jump. Recently he has run a 4.38 at his school, so why the discrepancy?
"I was exhausted from a track meet the previous night. It was a 'twighlight meet' where we were supposed to run under the lights at night, but it ran four hours late. I didn't even get there until 2 A.M. and then had to get up early in the morning," the athlete offers.
Several schools will get their own look at Evans up close this summer as he makes a tour of campuses for visits and camps. Nothing is yet set in stone, but good possibilities include Penn State, Notre Dame and Toledo.
As the young man said, this is a Midwestern kid with a lot of regional and local interest to ponder for his college future. He gave The Bootleg a top six of Stanford, Michigan, Penn State, Purdue, Northwestern and Notre Dame - the Cardinal are a clear geographic outlier. Distance could be an issue, but if the Wolverines continue with their midling (non)interest, Stanford could be in decent position for this CB/WR recruit given the early offer. Kris Evans is one to watch, and we'll be sure to keep you updated with his progress and news in the coming months.
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