Spring 2019: Zach Evans, North Shore recruits nearing summer moves
Considering how long as Zachary Evans has been one of the country’s top prospects, perhaps it’s somewhat understandable for him to sound a bit jaded by the recruiting process.
Look no further than when he talks about what the most critical thing that he’ll be look for in the top teams in the running for him this fall. Truthfully, the decision of some of last season’s top signees to immediately jump into the NCAA Transfer Portal adds some credence to the points he brings up.
“I’m pretty much looking for how the players respond to the coaches,” he said. “You see what’s going on with Chris Steele, so you never know what’s going on … That’s not my business but that’s an example because you never know until you’re on that team.
“It could be a front. It could be a recruiting game, just playing a game. You really don’t know how these coaches are and you’re getting ready to go out with them for four years.”
Nobody, least of all Evans, is expecting a speedy end to his recruitment. He did say that he is nearing a final decisions on the schools he planned on taking official visits to. He certainly caught the attention of Aggies fans when he made his way to College Station a few weeks ago with long-time A&M commit Demond Demas.
He downplayed the significance of the trip but there is no such thing as an insignificant visit anywhere when he’s involved.
“It was the same as going out any other day, [Demas] ain’t nothing but a commit there,” he said. “It’s all about the relationship that I’m going to have there with him outside of it. He’s nice; I can see myself teaming up with him, I’m just trying to see what A&M is doing this fall.”
Other than A&M, the only relatively recent recruiting visit that he’s made has been to Ole Miss, who joined the Aggies in his cut down to a Top 11 in January. The Rebels are going to have their work cut out trying to lure Evans in, but after his trip to Oxford at the end of March, their stock is up for the time being.
“I’m not going to lie, the Ole Miss visit was the best one that I’ve been on,” he said. “The reason being how they just take you in as a family. The new staff they have now, there’s going to be pressure on them next season, so it’s going to be fun to watch them.”
Banks on the mend, Davis primed for summer visits
North Shore’s most explosive playmaker, 2021 athlete Shadrach Banks, will have missed most of spring football this year after he broke his foot in a basketball game.
The summer has become a necessary reprieve for him to heal up. He also said he had some concerns about his other foot that he’d like to have addressed during the offseason.
Texas A&M remains in good shape with him, and he was seen wearing an Aggies wristband at practice. He said the staff is still excited for his potential as as wide receiver following his last visit this spring with fellow 2021 prospect, quarterback Dematrius Davis.
Davis was sharp in Monday’s practice, and North Shore assistant Joe Price said that he is prepping for a busy summer with ambitions of visiting as many schools that have offered him as possible.
A&M kicking the tires on John Gentry
Evans isn’t the only running back at North Shore that the Aggies have taken note of.
Fellow 2020 running back John Gentry was given the lion’s share of carries with the first team on Monday with Evans having been a healthy scratch from the day’s practice. Arkansas had been a leader in his recruitment in the early stages of spring, but now that team activities are underway at his school, he’s seen some more attention from other programs.
Houston was one of five schools to offer him since the beginning of May.
“I went there [Houston] for a visit but didn’t have an offer,” he said. “The next week they came to look at me, but I wasn’t working out because I was getting ready for the state track meet. The next day, they offered me anyway, they were telling me that they liked my work ethic and everything.”
Tulsa offered Gentry after Monday’s practice and he said that he thinks an offer from Texas Tech could be in the offing. The new Red Raiders staff has communicated to him that it would like to host him on a summer official visit, where he feels an offer would be included as part of the experience.
The Aggies have started showing him a bit of attention as well. Rarely does a high school program have two running backs that could both potentially go to play in the same SEC backfield, but Gentry said that the A&M staff has made it a point to start communicating with him more.
"I've talked to the running backs coach a couple of times but every time Coach [Bradley Dale] Peveto comes out here, he's always talking to me," he said. "He said that I'm doing good and to keep it up. They don't talk to me about they could get me and Zach, they just recruit me individually. It'll be cool, wherever Zach goes, but if we end up at the same place it will be how it was here."
Official visits nearing for Corey Flagg
The top defender in North Shore’s front seven, middle linebacker Corey Flagg Jr., is narrowing down his list of official visits as he nears a preseason commitment.
While dates aren’t set for all of them, the one that could be the most crucial could be one tentatively planned to Oklahoma State. Flagg has been to Stillwater several times, most recently at the end of April, and said the Cowboys have made it a point to show him he’s a priority.
“It was real good; I like the family, I like the culture,” he said. “You know, I’m a country boy and it’s real country out there, so that’s what I like … They’re doing a very good job recruiting me, they actually sent my mom a bunch of stuff for Mother’s Day and I’m really excited to get back up there for their pool party event.”
Flagg said that he has an official visit scheduled to Miami following the first game of the Mustangs’ season. Hurricanes assistants are expected to come see him at practice this week.
“They’re a great coaching staff,” he said. “The best thing about them is that they’re a defensive-minded staff. The head coach, Coach [Manny] Diaz, was a defensive coordinator at Mississippi State, at Miami, and we talk like, every other day.”
Virginia Tech has steadily been increasing its interest in him as well. He said that the staff has already been out to see him once during spring football and plan on returning before it wraps up. An official visit to Blacksburg isn’t scheduled yet, but is expected.
“The offensive coordinator recruits our area and was down here to see me,” he said. “He talked to me, Dematrius, and of course, Zach. He said that [defensive coordinator] Bud Foster is going to be coming out to see me as well.”