Rashaan Evans is torn between two rivals, including his neighborhood team. The nation's top-ranked outside linebacker prospect attends Auburn High School (Ala.), and the Tigers ardently aim to keep him close to home.
However, Auburn's adversary to the west is still strongly in play to add Evans to an abundance of defensive talent in Tuscaloosa. Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are hot on his trail and intend to provide a exclamation point on the country's top-ranked recruiting class with a commitment from the 6'3", 220-pound phenom.
The battle between SEC rivals Alabama and Auburn extends far beyond the playing field, as these squads routinely cross paths on the recruiting trail. Evans is the latest impact player to find himself in the middle of an in-state tug-of-war.
|School||Auburn High School|
|Size||6'3", 220 pounds|
|Rankings||No. 1 OLB; No. 15 overall nationally, No. 2 in state|
|Schools Considering||Alabama, Auburn, UCLA|
Evans, who cancelled a late official visit to UCLA, spent time on campus in Tuscaloosa and Auburn throughout recent months. His offer list includes Clemson, Georgia, Nebraska, Florida State and Notre Dame.
Raised in the heart of SEC territory, he is the latest in a lineage of impressive Alabama defenders to attract national attention. He showed incredible versatility during his senior season, spending plenty of time terrorizing offensive backfields.
Evans finished the fall with 77 total tackles, including 43 for loss of yards, per 247Sports. He adds an impressive pass-rushing arsenal that resulted in 17.5 sacks as a senior.
His size is prototypical for a rangy outside linebacker, and Evans is stout at the line of scrimmage, able to deliver the brunt of contact at the point of attack. His speed (clocked at 4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash per 247Sports) truly sets him apart.
Evans can easily size up a tight end or roaming running back in pass defense. His lateral quickness eliminates space for offensive playmakers attempting to escape his grip.
After spending an official visit at Auburn last weekend, Rashaan's father, Alan Evans, provided a positive breakdown of the trip during a discussion with Opelika-Auburn News reporter Alex Byington.
I feel a lot better because we had an opportunity to break down exactly how they’re going to utilize him. They haven’t done a lot of blitzing from the star position, (but) they said if they had a guy like Rashaan they could open up another facet of their defense, which they haven’t done and incorporate the star position in blitzing from the edge.
Evans' father spent time in Auburn's backfield with Bo Jackson in 1982 and 1983. He was recruited to the Tigers himself as a running back.
Naturally, his son has spent an abundance of time on Auburn's campus. Proximity favors Auburn, but Alabama hosted him in November, when he saw the Tide top LSU, and again in January for an official visit.
UCLA remains one of his stated finalists, but a decision not to visit the Bruins days before his commitment doesn't bode well for Jim Mora. Evans is expected to announce his decision at 10 a.m. CT.
Prediction: Evans' familiarity with Gus Malzahn plays a key role in the process. He and his family were able to clear up any uncertainty during the final official visit in his recruitment.
The nation's No. 1 linebacker elects to suit up for his hometown team in Iron Bowls to come, denying Saban the chance to add yet another 5-star recruit to his team's 2014 defensive stockpile.