September 2, 2013

Teams stepping up for Evans

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Auburn (Auburn, Ala.) linebacker Rashaan Evans had a busy but successful summer.

He worked his way into the Rivals100 with a solid showing on the camp circuit, and narrowed his recruitment down to a top four of Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and UCLA.

Now that his senior season is here, Evans now has to balance his responsibilities as a leader and playmaker for his team with handling what has become a highly competitive recruitment.

His high school team will come first, but Evans also has a plan of which schools he will visit and when.

"I'm going to the Georgia game against South Carolina," Evans said of his upcoming visit schedule. "I didn't know if I wanted it to be an official or an unofficial, but I am going to do an unofficial visit. My parents and I have been talking about taking my official visit to Georgia after the season. After that I'll take my official visit to UCLA on September 28. I'm trying to determine which Auburn game I'm going to go to. It might be LSU or it might be another game. We are still trying to determine that but we will definitely hit them (Auburn) up.

He will also visit Alabama.

With plans to visit each of his top four schools, Evans is able to give a detailed breakdown of what he likes about each program.

• Alabama - "Alabama has been recruiting me harder and I know Coach (Kirby) Smart really (well). They have a great team and a great staff and I want to get up there and see how things are this season and stuff like that."

• Auburn - "Both Auburn and Alabama are going head-to-head and recruiting me hard like they always do. Auburn is my hometown school and I just visited over there recently. It was a week or maybe two weeks ago. I talked to (Gus) Malzahn. He talked to both my dad and mom. We talked about my season and how I'm doing and things like that. I'd like to see them come out this year and see how they come back off that season they had last year. I want to see how the coaches react to the players and things like that. I want to see if they can get back to that national championship-type team that they had when Cam Newton and all of them were there. I'm definitely excited to see that. That is really the determining factor for me making a decision on them. I want to see the season and how they do."

• Georgia - "I really like the whole organization at Georgia. I like where they are at right now. I like the coaches a lot, too. Todd Grantham, the defensive coordinator and outside linebacker's coach, I think he is a great coach. He has been showing me a lot of love. Also the Head Coach, Mark Richt, he is a really cool guy. He stays in contact with me all the time. When I visited Georgia for the first time, I didn't know what to think. I didn't like it at first because it was kind of different. I was used to a small town in Auburn, but when I spent a whole day over there, Athens, for some reason, I kind of started to fall in love with it. Then also being around the coaches and some of the players, that was one of the main reasons I visited so I liked that."

• UCLA - "UCLA has been consistent for my whole recruitment. Jeff Ulbrich, me and him, we have probably the closest relationship out of all the coaches. Him and me, we talk about everything and not just football. I'm definitely trying to get out there not only to be around him but to be around the rest of the staff and the UCLA staff. Hopefully once I take this visit I'll know more. It may downgrade them or it may make them even that much more significant and make it where it isn't a problem for me to choose them if I want to. I'm hoping that this visit will be the determination of whether they stay in it or if they are going to be the number one team or what."

One school that recently held the top spot in Evans recruitment is Georgia and the Bulldogs are recruiting the Rivals100 standout heavily.

But how does the UGA coaching staff plan to use the four-star prospect if it is fortunate enough to gain his signature?

"They (UGA) are telling me that I can definitely play outside (linebacker)," he said. "They have talked to me about playing there or maybe doing what Alec Ogletree did. Both outside and inside are positions that I can play. To be honest, I would like to rush the passer, but if I have to get inside, I'll do it."

While Georgia once stood atop Evans list as the leader, he now says that all four schools are equal and visits will play a major role in his decision.

"I can't right now, at all, say a team that is standing out," he said. "Back when I had my top five, Georgia was standing out but it seems like all these teams have stepped it up. I don't know what they have done, but they are all coming at me at once. It is almost impossible to determine who stands out, but they have all been showing me a lot of love. They are all pretty much even. That is why these visits and these seasons are pretty much the big thing for me."

It was once thought that Evans would make a decision sometime during his senior season, but plans, as they often do in recruiting, have changed.

Now the idea is for Evans to make a decision whenever he feels he is ready, and that, according to the star defender, could come at any time.

"I'm just basing it off how I feel," Evans said of his recruitment. "I'm taking visits and if I have to back it up all the way to signing day, I will. It could be today or tomorrow, I'm just not sure. I've pretty much gotten to the point where if I feel comfortable with it, I'm going to pull the trigger."

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