Does Clyde Edwards-Helaire Change Zach Evans' Decision?
COLLEGE STATION - When Georgia announced they would be releasing five-star running back Zach Evans' national letter of intent, the focus turned to Texas A&M. With the loss of multiple running backs and the state ties, it seemed to be a match made in heaven.
While the Aggies are still in the running for the Memorial, Texas native's services, they could have some competition coming around. LSU, fresh off their 42-25 National Championship victory against Clemson, could need a new runner to pick up the production for the 2020 season.
LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helarie officially declared for the 2020 NFL Draft after leading the Tigers to their first title since 2007. As the team's leading rushing, the junior tallied 1,414 rushing yards in 2019 and scored a Southeastern Conference-leading 16 rushing touchdowns. From the passing game, Edwards-Helarie also collected 55 receptions for 453 yards and a touchdown.
"With a fearful and knowledgeable decision, I am declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft and forgoing my senior season at Louisiana State University," Edwards-Helaire wrote in a post on social media."Thank You Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for paving the way! God Bless!"
Both the Tigers and Aggies could use Evans' service for the long-term plan of their programs. LSU will still have two former top-ranked running backs in freshmen Tyrion Davis-Price and John Emery. The two top 10 recruits combined for 103 carries, 483 yards and 10 touchdowns during their first season down in Baton Rouge.
For A&M, their depth at running back could be in trouble to begin the new decade. The team will deploy one runner on scholarship following the departures from the previous season's roster. Rising sophomore Isaiah Spiller led the team with nearly 1,000 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns during his first year in Aggieland.
The Aggies lost four players to the transfer portal. Former starting running back Jashaun Corbin (Florida State) returned closer to home following suffering a season-ending injury. Deneric Prince (Tulsa) and Jacob Kibodi (FCS Incarnate Word), were used sparingly during the 2019 campaign.
After further deliberation, full-time backup Corrdarian Richardson announced he would leave the program this spring. The former UCF player would not travel with the team to the Texas Bowl.
Without Richardson, the Aggies made the most out of versatile Ainias Smith. Splitting reps at both running back and wide receiver, the Sugar Land native tallied 53 rushing yards and 17 receiving yards in the 24-21 victory over Oklahoma State last month. A&M coach Jimbo Fisher has yet to speak on Smith's role for the 2020 season.
The Aggies added a pair of running backs in their impressive 2020 recruiting class. Three-star Deondre Jackson will provide depth from Stone Mountain, Georgia, while Forth Bend's Devon Achane should be the "change-of-pace" back due to his speed. Should the Aggies add Evans, perhaps their production could rely on a promising run game over the pass.
As it currently stands, the Tigers and Aggies are expected to be the final two teams vying for Evans' services. Evans has yet to announce when he will make his final decision on where he will attend before the official National Signing Day.