As part of the Next Generation series that looks at the players about to join the Hawkeyes, Land of 10 Iowa reporters Scott Dochterman and Bobby La Gesse examine the recruiting process for members of the class. The subject of Recruiting Rewind this Saturday is Prairie Ridge (Ill.) High School 3-star athlete Samson Evans.
CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. — Prairie Ridge High School 3-star prospect Samson Evans had nearly as many options for his college position as his destination.
He excelled as a return specialist, highlighting his ability to make plays in space like a receiver or running back, and his athleticism and agility led some programs to view him as a potential defensive back.
Eleven programs offered Evans, including Illinois, Iowa State, Minnesota and Syracuse. Yet, his recruitment came down to Iowa and Northern Illinois.
The Hawkeyes viewed him as an athlete, capable of playing anywhere on the field. The Huskies were recruiting him as a quarterback.
One of the most important questions Evans faced on the recruiting trail was if he wanted to play quarterback in college.
“It was definitely hard,” Evans said.
Evans recapped his recruitment, his decision to move on from quarterback and why he picked Iowa in this Land of 10 recruiting rewind.
Land of 10: How much did playing quarterback matter to you with colleges?
Evans: I wanted to play quarterback. NIU, I wanted to go there and play quarterback, but at the same time I felt that Iowa would help me more in the long run than NIU would. It was the hardest thing I had to choose from, but I believe that in the end it will be worth it.
Land of 10: How did you come to that conclusion?
Evans: There was no point where I said I should move on, but it just came down to how Iowa was. Knowing NIU could move me into a different position if quarterback didn’t work out, I kept coming back to why not just start somewhere else? That is what was going to happen to Iowa. I wouldn’t have a year at quarterback and then three or four somewhere else. That was one of the biggest things. I knew Iowa could mold me into something better than NIU could, in a way.
Land of 10: You committed to Iowa on May 21, 2017. What made you announce then?
Evans: It was the best fit for me. I thought that whatever position I end up playing at the next level could mold me into what I wanted to be.
Land of 10: What was the biggest lesson you learned from recruiting?
Evans: Probably just go with what you think is going to set you up best in the future. There were other spots where I could have gone, but I felt that in the end it was really about where I felt would set me best up for the future in football and after football.
Land of 10: What was the oddest thing you experienced in recruiting?
Evans: I got Trevor Keegan stuff. He has offers from everywhere now. He is [a 2019 4-star offensive lineman] at Crystal Lake South. I got his mail. I don’t know how, but I ended up getting his.
Land of 10: What did you think when you saw it?
Evans: That they are just sending that to everyone. At that point, I’m like I’m not going to open this right now. I would have my dad open it.
Land of 10: When you committed, you thought wide receiver was your future home at Iowa. Now, you are expecting to play running back as a freshman. Why do you think quarterback helped prepare you for running back?
Evans: The biggest thing is being able to take a beating because I’ve taken 30-plus carries in the playoffs every game. That was the biggest thing. Just being able to see holes. That is important, too.
Being a quarterback, it’s not always easy to stop and go and run all the time. 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.