Ah yes, the saga of Jason Evans continues. The elite running back recruit was a strong Stanford target, and believed to be a solid Stanford lean, back in the spring before he his trip to Happy Valley and encounter with Joe Paterno that swayed him to a surprise Penn State commitment. Publicly, Evans has from that time forward that he remains committed to the Nittany Lions, but there has been continued recruiting contact with Stanford and Oklahoma in a three-way race that continues hot and heavy today.
Evans previously took a trip to Norman, Oklahoma in early November to see the Sooners play, but more germane to Booties' interest is the fact that Evans tripped with his mother to The Farm last weekend to see Stanford play USC.
On the one hand, the visit was very short and did not permit as much activity or interaction with players or coaches as you might like. Evans and his Harrison Hoyas are rumbling through an undefeated season and still playing on Friday nights, thus forcing him to fly out Saturday morning. He spent less than 24 hours at Stanford that weekend, waking up at 4am both Saturday and Sunday mornings to catch his respective flights. But the visit was only an unofficial one, and it importantly brought Jason's mother to campus for the first time.
Says Mrs. Evans of her first trip to Stanford that weekend, "It went very well. We were hoping for a win, though that didn't happen. It is a really beautiful campus, and I'm excited for the opportunity. It was also nice to put faces with the names, and Buddy Teevens was a real pleasure."
One core question to deciphering the Evans recruiting ebb and flow these past several months has been whether he is truly taking a look at Stanford, or if he is just giving a perfunctory look to appease his parents, who both have a strong predilection for the academics and fit that the Cardinal offer. To that question, Jason Evans answers, "You can't really throw away what your parents say."
So is Stanford really a possibility? To that question, he replies, "There is a fairly good chance I could end up at Stanford. They offer the top education in the country."
OK, but does Jason see an implicit trade-off with the football at Stanford versus that at a Penn State or an Oklahoma? Evans answers in the affirmative, though he tempers that with a look to the future. "Coach Teevens tells me that Stanford will win a national championship," he reports. To that statement, the follow-up question begs whether the Harrison (Kennessaw, GA) senior feels that is just the boast of a coach who admittedly is an optimist by nature. "No, I really do believe he can do it at Stanford," Evan replies.
Evans says that the short trip only permitted time to speak with the coaches and go to the game, though the discussions with Buddy Teevens, David Kelly and Wayne Moses were earnest. "We talked about how much impact I could have in the system," he recalls. "My style fits well with their program, which both runs and throws the ball. It's like a West Coast offense, and that suits me." Evans also relates that in watching the Stanford/USC game, he surveyed Stanford's backs and concluded that he definitely can come to Palo Alto and play.
He will return to Stanford the weekend of December 6, which finds some other Cardinal recruits also trekking to The Farm, though Evans may have to join them on Saturday. His Harrison team is currently 10-0 and flying high into the state playoffs, very likely to still be playing on Friday the 6th. They just concluded their regular season with a rain-soaked 16-10 win over regional rival Walton (8-2) to finish with the 5-A region title. Evans has scrambled for 1000 yards on 150 carries, plus more than 400 yards receiving. He has found the endzone 13 times, including one interception return on defense. "We've matured a whole lot on defense," he opines, "and we can now dominate at both corners at safety.
That December official visit weekend is the key event in the Jason Evans recruiting saga, and there is not likely to be any significant news between now and then. Neither he nor Stanford are in any hurry right now. "They really want me to take my time," Evans notes about the Cardinal staff.