All-American RB Zach Evans Released from LOI by Georgia Football
John Garcia, Jr.
The Zach Evans recruiting saga took the next step, or reset altogether, on Tuesday depending on one's perspective.
As SEC sources have confirmed to SI All-American, the Houston (Texas) North Shore prospect is now free to communicate with any program following the release of his National Letter of Intent and a Financial Aid Agreement by the University of Georgia. 247Sports was first to report the news.
What it means for the Under Armour All-America Game MVP, who commented on the matter some following Thursday's game, is that he is back to square one with the recruiting process. That same day, he admitted to have been in communication with Georgia head coach Kirby Smart following inking with the Bulldogs during the Early Signing Period in December.
Things took a turn between then and the New Year, as Evans went back on his plan to release the news of his Georgia commitment publicly on national television. Instead, he apologized for that misunderstanding and more with the aid of UA All-America Team Pressure head coach Deion Sanders.
Despite the back-and-forth, this recruitment is still far from settled in what has become the most unconventional of the class of 2020 cycle.
Before the latest twist, when Evans admitted he signed in December and would announce at the game, programs like LSU, Texas A&M and Alabama were mentioned in the same breath as Georgia by the senior.
SI All-American sources have been led more towards Texas A&M's chances since even before the potential for staying within the SEC became realized. A full release from Smart's staff means programs within the conference are able to recruit him without eligibility restriction or delay.
LSU, however, does not yet have a running back committed in the class and has long been a major player in Evans' recruitment. Ed Orgeron and company aren't to be counted out should the staff reengage with the Evans camp once the NCAA recruiting dead period is lifted in 10 day's time, should the final stage of the recruitment last that long. Evans, who is free to initiate contact with coaching staffs even in a dead period, took an official visit to LSU in October, less than a month before his official visit to Texas A&M.
More than 40 FBS programs jumped in the race for the dynamic three-down back, who put together another a second consecutive 1,600-plus yard season as a senior as North Shore took home another state championship. Evans has notched at least 20 rushing touchdowns in three straight prep seasons. Sanders mentioned the likelihood of the Lone Star State prospect to eventually play in the NFL should another program give him the chance.
The Early Signing Period combined with the transfer portal has thrown plenty of wrinkles into late stages of recruiting, especially when it comes to programs coordinating "silent" signings with prospects set to announce decision during televised events. Georgia did so successfully with UA All-American tight end Darnell Washington and All-American Bowl defensive back Kelee Ringo just last week.
The most notable recruitment where each new element was present came last year as USC and Texas each saw All-American Bowl wide receiver Bru McCoy enroll and depart the university. He committed to USC during a televised game in January and enrolled a few days later. Following then-offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury's departure for the Arizona Cardinals' head job, McCoy hit the transfer portal and enrolled at Texas before the end of the month. Texas announced McCoy as part of the 2019 recruiting class the first week of February only to see him go back into the portal in May. He would enroll at USC again in June.
Like McCoy at the time, Evans had been expected to enroll in January. Attempts to connect with the Evans camp have been unsuccessful since the UA All-America Game, so no word on whether or not he remains on track to begin his collegiate career at his program of choice in the coming days or weeks.