|#9 Marell Evans is back on the team|
At the coaches' pre-spring press conference yesterday, it was officially noted that linebacker Marell Evans has returned to Michigan's team. This isn't news for anyone who paid attention to various Facebook and Twitter posts, which revealed that he had been working out with the team in the offseason. This is the same Marell Evans who transferred away from Michigan back in 2009, and I can't remember the last time a Michigan player enrolled at a school, transferred away, and then transferred back. This is truly a unique situation.
Anyway, in his sayonara post, I wrote, "It's unclear where Evans will wind up, but most kids who transfer seem to end up closer to home and at a slightly smaller program." Sure enough, Evans transferred to Hampton University, which is approximately 1.5 hours away from his home in Varina, Virginia (just outside Richmond). As far as I can tell, he played sparingly in 2009 and not at all in 2010.
So let's recount the career of Evans:
- 2007: Burns his redshirt running downfield on special teams
- 2008: Starting SAM linebacker for the Utah game; backup SAM/WILL for rest of year
- 2009: Moved to outside linebacker in spring; transferred to play linebacker at Hampton
- 2010: Sat out the 2010 season for reasons that are unclear
- 2011: Transferred back to Michigan with one year of eligibility remaining
In case you're counting or wondering, the NCAA gives college players five years to play four seasons. Since Evans transferred from an FBS school (Michigan) to an FCS school (Hampton) back to an FBS school (Michigan), he wasn't required to sit out any seasons due to NCAA transfer rules. So it's all or nothing this year for Evans.
Evans departed in a classy way prior to the 2009 season, and he had nothing bad to say about the coaches. But it makes you wonder why he left. He committed to Lloyd Carr, only stuck around for one year of Rodriguez . . . and then came back to Michigan as soon as Hoke was hired. He presumably departed for a chance to get more playing time, but now his competition is just as stiff as when he left.
Scott Shafer pegged Evans as a SAM back in 2008, but Greg Robinson turned him into a backup Quick end (outside linebacker) prior to the 2009 season. At approximately 6'3" and 225 lbs., it would seem that Evans' best chance to play would be at the WILL position in 2011. I don't think he's fast enough to play SAM in Greg Mattison's defense, and I think he's too small to play the rush end spot. The WILL position is wide open after the departure of Jonas Mouton, leaving guys like Mike Jones, a couple other positional vagabands, a couple freshman, and possibly Evans to battle for the starting spot.