2018 Season Countdown: #15 Chris Evans

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13Aug 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #15 Chris Evans

Chris Evans (image via Michigan Daily)

Name: Chris Evans
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 216 lbs.
High school: Indianapolis (IN) Ben Davis
Position: Running back
Class: Junior
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

19Nov 2017
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Wisconsin 24, Michigan 10

Brandon Peters (image via Maize ‘n’ Brew)

Brandon Peters, we hardly knew ye. The redshirt freshman quarterback was 9/18 for 157 yards in about three quarters of play before being knocked out of the game. This was just his third start after replacing the ineffective John O’Korn, who was himself replacing the injured Wilton Speight. Peters was in the midst of showing the whole country what a lot of us Michigan fans saw in the spring game, and that’s the fact that he’s Michigan’s best quarterback. Peters did lose a fumble while making an ill-advised lunge for the goal line, but that was his first and only turnover in about four full games of work and 64 passing attempts. Peters was being evaluated for a head injury, almost certainly has a concussion, and will probably miss next week’s game against Ohio State.

Hit the jump for the rest of the recap.

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30Oct 2017
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Michigan vs. Rutgers Awards

Brandon Peters (image via FDFP)

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Brandon Peters. Obviously. He went 10/14 for 124 yards and 1 touchdown. He didn’t take any sacks, and he seemed to be finding the open guys. Perhaps more encouragingly than what we saw with O’Korn against Purdue, Peters mostly wasn’t fitting the ball into tight windows. While O’Korn seemed to be locking onto one guy and getting him the ball no matter what, Peters seems to be going through his progressions a bit more. O’Korn was 3/6 for 13 yards and 1 interception with 2 fumbled snaps prior to leaving the game.

Hit the jump for the rest of the awards.

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3Sep 2017
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Michigan 33, Florida 17

(image via MGoBlue)

The elephant in the room. Wilton Speight doesn’t look any better than he did in the spring. He was 11/25 for 181 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. He threw more touchdowns to Florida (2) than he did to his own guys. I don’t believe this is a Jim Harbaugh thing. Harbaugh has shown elsewhere that he’s capable of coaching the quarterback position. Speight is the lone guy in Harbaugh’s history who has regressed. I hope Florida was just really good defensively – despite having 10 players suspended and a starting safety out with a torn Achilles – but I have no faith in that being the case. Speight consistently overthrows balls, a frustrating thing when guys are wide open, and a dangerous thing when guys are in traffic. I’ve seen people insisting that the first pick-six was on Kekoa Crawford, whose hands it bounced off of, but that throw was high and a tough catch. The second pick-six in the general vicinity of Grant Perry was wildly overthrown.

The hippo in the room. John O’Korn looked about the same as he did last year, too. I don’t understand yanking Speight in order to have O’Korn hand off the ball three times before punting, either. You don’t need a backup QB to hand off the ball. Speight is better with the ball handling, anyway, so that first O’Korn series was a waste, and the draw play on third down was awkward.

The armadillo in the room. I sure hope Brandon Peters gets some playing time this year.

Hit the jump for more on the game.

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