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Take Two: What's the next twist in Zachary Evans' recruitment?

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals100 | Position | Team | State

Zachary Evans
Zachary Evans (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling an issue in the college football landscape. Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell and an expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites or a regional analyst.

MORE TAKE TWO: What's ahead for Donell Harris?

  THE STORYLINE  

Five-star running back Zachary Evans surprised a lot of people in late May when he released a top five of Ohio State, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma and Georgia.

Absent from the list for the Houston (Texas) North Shore standout were Texas and Texas A&M, the two in-state programs he had visited numerous times and two teams that had been seriously involved in his recruitment over time.

Things could be taking another interesting turn.

Since Evans, the top-rated running back in the 2020 class, released his top list, he has taken trips to see both the Aggies and Longhorns, and many believe neither is out of his recruitment at this point.

There are also some rumblings that the five-star running back is seriously pondering making a commitment before his senior season starts rather than waiting until the Early Signing Period.

After a surprise top-five release and then new visits to both Austin and College Station, which teams look best in Evans’ recruitment?

FIRST TAKE: SAM SPIEGELMAN, TEXAS/LOUISIANA ANALYST  

“He put out the official five finalists a few weeks ago but that’s already been shaken up. He’s made visits to Texas and Texas A&M in June, and he’s also made stops to LSU and Alabama. People close to home really believe it’s coming down to A&M, Alabama and LSU.

“There have been whispers a decision could be made before North Shore kicks off its season in August. He’s always maintained he wants to make a decision at the Early Signing Period because he’s an early enrollee, so that’s up in the air. There is confidence on the Alabama side, there is confidence on the A&M side and there is a degree of confidence on the LSU side. It could go any of those three ways.

“It’s hard to eliminate Alabama, even though the Tide already have one running back committed. LSU has no running backs currently in its 2020 class and it is waiting to see where it is with Evans and it has a history of recruiting North Shore. A&M might be the in-state favorite. The Aggies have an all-purpose back committed and they’re putting together an all-star, in-state class and hoping that helps bring them in with Evans.”

SECOND TAKE: MIKE FARRELL, NATIONAL RECRUITING DIRECTOR  

“I don’t think his top five is meaningless because it gives you an idea of what schools are in it but he’s still visiting schools outside the top five. So if he commits before the season then my guess is he’d still take visits and figure out if that’s the right place for him. He seems to gravitate toward the SEC, so I’d say Alabama, Georgia and LSU sort of stand out, but you have to keep an eye on Texas A&M and Texas, especially as the season goes on. If one of them gets hot and has a really good start to the season, his interest would grow.

“Right now, it’s a complete guess. LSU has the geographical advantage if he decides to stick with his top five. Georgia could get Kendall Milton, and that would eliminate the Bulldogs because I don’t think he’s going to go with another five-star. If I had to guess long term, I still think he stays in-state at A&M or Texas, but if I had to pick today I’d say LSU.”