COLLEGE STATION - If you heard a story about Zach Evans, it honestly could be true. The five-star running back has the face the recruiting trail heading into National Signing Day next week.
Following his release from his letter of intent from Georgia, Evans once again became the subject of conversation. The Memorial product made visits to Tennessee and Ole Miss over the past month, with both schools trending in the right direction of his services.
Six schools from the Southeastern Conference will be vying for Evans' services. Alabama, LSU and Georgia could be long shots after all three have taken steps back on the process. The Volunteers and Rebels could be well in line to grab him, especially with Lane Kiffin needing a game-changing prospect to begin his career at Ole Miss off properly.
Texas A&M has been in the mix of conversation from the start. The Aggies could be in use of his services following the departure of four running backs to the transfer portal. With only Isaiah Spiller returning, Evans would be an immediate contributor to Jimbo Fisher's backfield.
There is another path Evans could take should things continue to fall off the tracks. Although there are no guarantees the league would take him in, perhaps Evans' future doesn't revolve with the NCAA.
Enter The XFL.
With spring ball coming into the minds of football fans, the XFL will launch its second installation next month. The league is expected to last 10 games for each roster and there will not be a bye, unlike the two given towards the NCAA. Eight teams will hope to take home the league's championship at the end of the season come late April.
According to an interview with Pro Football Talk in 2019, the XFL will not limit players into going to colleges to play in their league. XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck stated in an interview with the Sports Business Radio Road Show that the league is "not subject" to the eligibility rules in place in the NFL, adding that, in theory, the XFL could select players directly following their graduation of high school.
"I wouldn’t rule it out,” Luck said, per PFT. “Nor would I rule out taking a player who played a year of college football and let’s say isn’t eligible academically, which happens. Or a player who is two years out of college, and is transferring, and would have to sit out a year. A lot of guys don’t want to. ... We are in that position to be able to take players who wouldn't be eligible to play in the NFL. ...
“But that’s an option that we have and we’re going to look at it long and hard. There are a lot off very good college players after a year or two who may not want to play that third year of college football, may need to earn a little money, support the family. That’s not uncommon as well.”
According to Mike Florio of PFT, XFL players will make an average of $55,000 per season. Several players are expected to make more, but the majority salary will be that over what is expected to be a three-year deal.
With the league set to debut in next month, perhaps Evans could mull his options over and prep for the 2021 season. XFL owner Vince McMahon sold $272 million of the WWE stock to fund the league, with hopes of keeping it around for more than one season.
With the proper funding, unlike that found in the now-debunked AAF, perhaps spring football could work with the appropriate names behind it. If so, would Evans be intrigued by joining? Should he play one semester at a junior college, perhaps that's all Luck and McMahon would ask for of players to join the league.
Signing a three-year deal, Evans would be able to adjust to NFL size players in a semi-pro league. From there, the elite runner could hone in his craft before electing to take his talent to the NFL level. The best part? He'd legally be paid for his services under the XFL player contract.
It's no longer uncommon to see players skip college to earn a salary. In basketball, high schoolers will head overseas and advance their skills in another league. In soccer, players will come to the MLS when their playing days are being numbered.
Should the league need a big-time signing, Evans could be the perfect player to add excitement for another season. It also could open the door for other players to contest their decisions before joining a college roster. For now, all is hypothetical and just a wish rather than a fact.
But perhaps the NFL shouldn't be worried of the XFL's return. Maybe it's the NCAA that should be on the rise of concern.