Name: Chris Evans
Weight: 216 lbs.
High school: Indianapolis (IN) Ben Davis
Position: Running back
Jersey number: #12
Last year: I ranked Evans #11 and said he would be the starting running back with 110 carries for 600 yards and 6 touchdowns (LINK). He had 135 carries for 685 yards (5.1 YPC) and 6 touchdowns; he also caught 16 passes for 157 yards (9.8 yards/catch) and 1 touchdown.
TTB Rating: 68
Evans went into the 2017 season as the front-runner for the lead running back spot. In fact, confidence seemed to be so high that he was sitting out some reps in the spring because he was a known commodity. And he did indeed start the first game against Florida. He had 22 carries for 78 yards (3.5 YPC), but he was outshone by Ty Isaac; as a result, Evans never had more than 15 carries in any game for the rest of the season. Isaac and, more notably, Karan Higdon pushed past him with Higdon finishing the season with 994 yards. Isaac eventually fell by the wayside, but Evans would resurface with a 97-yard, 2-touchdown effort against Purdue and then a 191-yard, 2-touchdown game against Minnesota. Evans and Higdon would be Big Ten Co-Offensive Players of the Week against the Gophers. It was a decent year overall, but not quite what we expected when he was sitting out in the spring.
Now the shoe appears to be on the other foot for the Michigan football team. Higdon is the established guy, and Evans is the one fighting for respect. He has always had strong legs, but now Evans is 216 pounds. Reports leaking out of camp are that Evans is playing some in the slot to get him on the field with Higdon. He might not be the front-runner right now, but I rank him this highly because there are some serious question marks behind the top two running backs. Whereas Isaac and Kareem Walker were on the roster last year to provide a pretty imposing top four running backs, now it’s sophomore O’Maury Samuels, walk-on Tru Wilson, and freshmen.
Prediction: Backup running back; 120 carries for 650 yards and 5 touchdowns, plus 22 catches for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns