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Sun Prairie, Wisc., four-star defensive tackle Craig Evans wrapped up his official visits this weekend with the school he first committed to as a junior - the Wisconsin Badgers.
"It was definitely a much-needed visit," Evans said. "I know I am definitely feeling the way I felt awhile ago about Wisconsin. It was overall a great visit."
Evans had committed to Wisconsin as a junior, but de-committed in the midst of the coaching change in Madison last winter. He recommitted a few months later but has taken official visits to Arkansas and Michigan State in recent months.
A final decision from Evans will be announced on Jan. 4. With the holiday dead period this week, the official visit was his last in-person meeting with the Wisconsin coaches before he announces.
"I got to end things up with Coach (Gary) Andersen," Evans said. "He's always been an honest guy with me. It always goes well with him. He believes in me, believes I can be something different and something special to that program.
"We were able to just sit down and have a heart-to-heart. He told me how he felt about me, how he wants to be more than just my head football coach. He wants to be that mentor in my life, wants to guide me and help me develop as a young man. That meant a lot to me.
"He also told me what it is looking like for me as far as playing early. If I do what I have to do, he feels like I can be a great attribute to the team and bring something different to the table, which I feel I can too."
Evans is one of four in-state prospects who committed to Wisconsin when Bret Bielema was head coach, but have stuck around on the Badger's commitment list after Bielema's departure. All four, as well as many other newer commits, took their official visits to Madison this weekend and Evans said the bond was tight between all the visitors.
"If you were an outsider looking in, you'd think we were a group of kids who have been around each other for awhile," Evans said. "That means something big when you can bond that early like that."
While Evans was in Madison on his official visit, his primary recruiter at Arkansas, Charlie Partridge, took the head coaching job at FAU, essentially ending the Razorbacks' chances in this race.
"That is the end of that story for Arkansas," Evans said. "I still have a relationship with Coach (Bielema), but it was really Coach P. I am more than happy for that guy. He deserves it, but him leaving kind of summed it all up for me with Arkansas."
Evans will now go into his Jan. 4 announcement with Wisconsin and Michigan State hats on the table. He took his official visit to East Lansing earlier this month, and feels he has seen what he needs to make a final decision.
"I think this cleared the air for me and made my decision a lot easier," Evans said. "Now I just know what I have to do - leave it up to God and talk some things over with him.
"I could actually make a decision right now, but I am going to stay true to my word and make it when I go down to this game. I am going to talk it over with God a little more just to be 100 percent positive, but I think I am pretty confident where I want to be."
Josh Helmholdt is the Midwest Region football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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