Saturday, January 29, 2022

Zach Evans transfers to Ole Miss: Former five-star RB instantly boosts Rebels offense in move from TCU

Zach Evans, the former running back at TCU and five-star prospect in the Class of 2020, announced Thursday that he will continue his career playing for Ole Miss Rebels. Despite playing in just six games this past season during an injury-shortened effort, Evans was the Horned Frogs’ leading rusher with 648 yards at 7.04 yards per carry and five touchdowns. He also added 10 catches for 130 yards and one more score.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank God for His grace and many blessings,” Evans wrote on Twitter. “To my family and friends, I am grateful for your love and support. I am grateful to the TCU fanbase for an amazing two seasons in the great city of Fort Worth. Last but not least, I would like to thank my TCU coaches and teammates for my development and friendship. Especially coach Gary Patterson, thank you for the opportunity and love that you provided me.”

Evans was the No. 16 overall player in his recruiting class out of North Shore High School in Houston, Texas. The 5-foot-11, 212-pounder was the second-ranked running back in the 2020 cycle and widely regarded as one of the most dynamic playmakers in the country. Though he originally signed with Georgia out of high school, he eventually ended a lengthy recruiting saga by landing with the Frogs. 

Let’s break down what his commitment to Ole Miss means, coach Lane Kiffin and TCU moving forward. 

Another weapon for Kiffin

Evans will step right in for Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner in an offense built for skill players to shine. Ealy announced earlier this week that he will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft after totaling 1,244 all-purpose yards with seven touchdowns this past season. Conner followed suit after rushing for 647 yards and 13 touchdowns. 

Simply put, there are carries and yards available in Oxford in 2022 and beyond. The versatility that Evans can provide will undoubtedly make him a massive factor in Kiffin’s offense, especially since quarterback Matt Corral also jetted off to the pros.

TCU’s rebuild under Dykes

It’s clear new coach Sonny Dykes has some work to do to build this team back into a Big 12 contender following Patterson’s departure. Evans was the centerpiece of the Frogs’ offense before a toe injury sidelined him for the second half of the season. He broke the century mark on the ground in four of the first five games of the season, including a career-high 190 yards in a 34-32 win over Cal in Week 2. 

Kendre Miller will be back after rushing for 623 yards last season, but he didn’t have more than 14 carries in any of his 10 game appearances. 

Ole Miss is a threat

Kiffin took over the Rebels with one goal in mind: win the SEC West. He came close this year, finishing one game behind Alabama in what was one of the best seasons in program history. That’s an impressive feat considering he didn’t have a roster with the same depth and overall talent as the one in Tuscaloosa. 

Kiffin’s system, star power and success has already put Ole Miss on the map. But if the Rebels are ever going to win the SEC West, it starts with the personnel. Evans’ commitment is just another sign that the program is on the rise in a division that has been run by Nick Saban for more than a decade. 

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