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Zach Evans announces plan to leave Ole Miss for NFL Draft

The Houston native nearly reached 1,000 yards in 2022

NCAA Football: Texas Bowl-Texas Tech at Mississippi Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Junior running back Zach Evans announced his departure from Ole Miss for the NFL Draft on Friday afternoon.

The Houston, Tex. native rushed for 936 yards and nine touchdowns in his only season at Ole Miss. He transferred to Oxford from TCU after two seasons as a Horned Frog where he rushed for 1,063 yards combined.

Evans carried the ball eight times for 37 yards and a touchdown in the Rebels loss to Texas Tech on Wednesday in the Texas Bowl.

It was assumed in the preseason Evans would be the go-to RB1 in the Ole Miss backfield though nagging injuries limited the talented back at times. The ascension of SEC Freshman of the Year Quinshon Judkins caused for a split workload among the two, and Judkins was tasked with a lot more as the season progressed.

There’s no doubt Evans has the ability to play at the next level, and it looks like he has yet to really and truly put together a full season at his highest output yet. At 6’0” and 215 lbs., he has the size to compete in the NFL, and there were games early on in the season where fans saw he could go 15-20 carries for 120-150 yards with seeming ease.

The one question mark he can answer is his top end speed as his longest rushes of the year for Ole Miss were at 23 yards. There’s no 40 or 50-plus yard home run touchdowns in the highlight film this season, and some NFL teams will want to see a fast 40 to pull the trigger on him in the draft. Out of high school, Evans was clocked at 4.5 speed, so if he could replicate that on a pro day, it’s likely he will get a hard look from several teams.

As far as where he projects in the draft, he is not going to be a first day, first round guy, but he could very well get picked on day two somewhere from 33-100 as a young back who can come in right away and try to win a starting role.