Last week was an eventful one for Kris Evans, and an uneasy one at that. The six-foot athlete from Monroe, Michigan went through an emotional rollercoaster of pressure and uncertainty, with his options and information changing as fast as his heartbeat.
Evans took an official visit to Boston College the prior weekend, giving a good look at the second of two schools from BCS conferences to extend him a scholarship offer. The receiver/cornerback recruit had previously visited Stanford on the Cardinal's big January 7 weekend, which saw Evans attend with nine other recruits who had committed or subsequently committed to Stanford. The Michigan man walked away from the West Coast weekend beaming about The Farm with everything but a commitment from his lips. Two items prevented him from making a verbal pledge to Walt Harris at the time: 1) his still uncertain admissions status with Stanford and 2) his responsibility and sense of fair play toward the other schools who recruited and offered him.
The trip to Boston was a good one, but Evans admits it was not enough to alone sway him away from his Cardinal inclination.
"I enjoyed myself at BC, but I saw more of the personality of the school at Stanford," he describes. "They're two good schools, but Stanford was the place for me. The Stanford visit was great. I enjoyed the time with the players a lot. At Stanford, I was around the recruits and players a lot more, and we really meshed. I also met the professors at Stanford and got a good feel for the school."
But Evans returned home from the East Coast without a true option to exercise for Stanford. His admissions application was still being reviewed, largely due to the late submission of a teacher recommendation that came a week after he visited the school.
"The admissions process is what it is, but they don't follow any schedule," Evans notes.
That Monday, the Boston College started to turn the screws to the recruit with pressure for a commitment. Eagles assistant coach Jim Bridge took the lead and delivered a forceful message.
"On Monday he told me that they 'really need to know' and pushed me to commit," Evans recalls. "I had a basketball game that night, and before the game he saw me and said, 'We really need to know tonight.' My only reply was to tell him I would decide by the middle of the week. I needed to time to see if I was admitted to Stanford."
Tuesday night, Bridge brought a new wave of pressure. A heated phone call with Evans' father carried a new ultimatum.
"He told my dad that they needed to know right now," the recruit relates. "My dad was infuriated, but that's the game they played. I could have ended up with no scholarship at both places with how BC was talking if I didn't commit and I didn't get in to Stanford. They gave me a deadline of noon the next day."
Stanford assistant coach Nate Hackett was scheduled to visit Evans at Monroe High School at 9 AM that Wednesday morning, armed with an admissions answer from the Farm. But there was no decision from the Admissions Office to be had that morning, so Evans capitulated and committed to Boston College.
"It's a good school, but it wasn't my first choice," he says of the Wednesday pledge to the Eagles.
That evening, the newly committed recruit got a phone call from Walt Harris with the long-awaited news that Stanford had accepted Evans' application. The Monroe High School senior had longed for that call since the spring of his junior year, but it came a few hours too late.
"Coach Harris gave me the news and could tell I was hurting," Evans remembers. "He said, 'You don't sound to happy,' and I said, 'Yeah, I'm not.' I felt terrible. I was all mixed up. I was happy, but I wasn't. The timing was just terrible."
The recruit and his family were torn up by the timing and order of events that had played out. They favored Stanford strongly but were ill at ease at first with the idea of reversing course on the pledge made that morning. Soon thereafter that Wednesday evening, Hackett arrived to their home for a visit that lasted nearly five hours.
"Yeah, he was there for a long while," Evans laughs. "We had a good time, and we talked about everything. It wasn't all football. I like him. He's straight up and my parents really welcomed him."
After the Stanford assistant left into the cold Michigan night, Evans remained a deeply conflicted young man.
"I thought about it and thought about. I talked and talked. I tried to sleep on it, but it was a rough night," he laments. "I had a hard time taking my commitment back, but a lot of people told me it was the right thing to do."
"When I looked at the chance to go to Stanford, I had to man up," Evans declares. "Every coach when they recruit you tells you it's about you and your choice, so I thought about it and what was best for me. I couldn't worry about whether my decision would step on somebody's toes. If a coach gets another job, he'll go for it. I had a better opportunity suddenly available for me and I had to take it."
Thursday morning, the two-way Cardinal recruit called Stanford and gave his verbal commitment. The reaction on the other side of the phone was elation. The Boston College coaches were not so kind when they received the news.
"It was rough, but I had to do what was best for me," Evans asserts.
Kris Evans is a three-star prospect ranked the #68 cornerback in the nation by Scout.com. There is still uncertainty as to whether he will play defense or offense when he matriculates next fall. He looks at Stanford's graduation losses and sees the two senior cornerbacks who have departed as an early opportunity. Evans is careful, however, to maintain that he is not proclaiming any expectations for his first year and whether he would redshirt or not. He remains open to the idea of playing wide receiver, where he is arguably a greater need in this class. Stanford signed just one wideout last year and has only Evans possibly at the position in this class.
"We'll just have to see," he comments. "Both positions are intriguing. Stanford recruited me as an athlete, and I'll play wherever it works out. I'm just excited about what's ahead."
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