Land of 10 has embarked on a series of Next Generation articles, a project that aims to bring our readers greater insight into the Class of 2018 signees. Land of 10 Iowa writers Scott Dochterman and Bobby La Gesse are visiting the Iowa incoming freshman class to show you more than its 40-yard dash times and recruiting rankings. We talked with 3-star athlete Samson Evans, but before we bring you the full profile on the Prairie Ridge High School (Ill.) star, here is a sneak peek at what you can expect.
CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. — Running back or slot wide receiver? Samson Evans could play either at Iowa, but which position would he play if he could choose?
“Running back,” Evans said.
It’s a good thing it’s his likely landing spot when he arrives on campus this summer. Injuries and a lack of bodies are pushing him into the backfield, where he thinks his skill set works best.
“It’s still up in the air,” Evans said. “I think they want to see how they want me to do at running back. I know I can play it. It’s just up to them that when they see it and what happens after that.”
Evans, a 3-star prospect, could play defensive back, wide receiver or running back in college, but at Prairie Ridge High School (Ill.) he was a triple-option quarterback.
He led the Wolves to back-to-back state titles and 27 consecutive victories with his legs more than his arms. He holds the program record for rushing yards (6,386), rushing touchdowns (111), throwing touchdowns (31) and total touchdowns (155).
Evans rushed for 2,092 yards and 38 touchdowns while throwing for 610 yards and 8 touchdowns as a senior. He was also named the Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year.
Evans believes his high school workload prepared him for the move to running back at Iowa.
“The biggest thing is being able to take a beating because I’ve taken 30-plus carries in the playoffs every game,” Evans said. “That was the biggest thing. Just being able to see holes. That is important too.”
As an option quarterback, Evans rarely had the chance to taking the football and just run. He’s looking forward to lining up in the backfield and having nothing to worry about but following his blockers and making defenders miss.
“Being a quarterback it’s not always easy to stop and go and run all the time,” Evans said. “It helps me in that sense because being able to run as a running back and run forward more is going to help me out more than it does at quarterback right now.
“Right now, I do my steps. I stop and I have to run again. It’s going to be better in a way.”
He committed to Iowa last spring knowing his future was at wide receiver or running back.
His father, Matt, believes the position change is the perfect move for his son. Samson switched between quarterback and running back in youth football.
“I see him a lot like [Christian] McCaffrey,” Matt said.
The description makes sense. The two are identically built. Evans is 6-foot, 205 pounds. McCaffrey, the former first-round NFL draft pick, is 5-11, 202 pounds.
Carolina gets McCaffrey the ball in the backfield and out in the slot. The Panthers design plays to ensure he is in space with the football and let him make plays. Evans sees himself fitting in a similar way with the Hawkeyes.
“I think having the ball in my hands is what I want and I think I can do the best when I do have it in my hands,” Evans said.
It’s why running back is the best spot for him to start at Iowa.