Name: Marell Evans
Weight: 225 lbs.
High school: Varina High School in Richmond, VA
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #9
Last year: I did not rank Evans. He was at Hampton but did not play football.
Marell Evans’s story is intriguing, and that’s not even including his position or place on the depth chart. He was a high school teammate of Brandon Minor who probably should have redshirted in 2007, but somewhat inexplicably burned that redshirt by playing in six games (making zero tackles) on special teams. Then he was named the starter for the opener against Utah in 2008, a status that lasted one week. His SAM linebacker spot was usurped by John Thompson, who was clearly a middle linebacker. (Seriously, can anyone give me one good reason that Thompson didn’t play MIKE in 2008 and Ezeh the SAM position? Thompson was a big hitter who was limited in coverage and worthless as a blitzer. That’s not the description of a SAM.) Anyway, after the season Evans transferred to FCS school Hampton. He never said anything negative about Rich Rodriguez or the program, but he was clearly upset about his lack of playing time.
Fast forward three years . . . and now Evans is back in a Michigan uniform. He rejoined the team this past winter and, due in equal parts to a lack of depth and an injury to Kenny Demens, Evans was the spring game starter at MIKE linebacker. It turns out he never played at Hampton due to injuries, but he has one year of eligibility left and wanted to take another shot in Ann Arbor. The reports from spring practice were positive, and Evans brings size and maturity to a linebacker group that’s lacking in both. Not only does Evans look like a better WILL than redshirt sophomore Mike Jones, but Evans also looks like the top backup in the middle if Demens gets hurt again. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a college player go from a starter, then transfer for two years, and then return to his original school and start again, but Evans has the chance to do just that.
Prediction: Starting weakside linebacker, special teams contributor; 60 tackles
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