The best running back in the country headlines the American-Statesman’s initial 2020 Fabulous 55.
Galena Park North Shore’s Zachary Evans helped his program capture the Class 6A Division I state title last year as a junior. He’s the unquestioned prize of the 2020 recruiting cycle inside the Lone Star State. The 6-foot, 213-pound five-star prospect holds 39 offers from the country’s best programs.
Evans arrived on the recruiting scene as a hot-shot sophomore splitting the carries at North Shore in 2017. He finished the year with 1,483 yards and 27 touchdowns on just 184 carries. He then posted a laser-timed 4.51 40-yard dash at The Opening regional in Houston in February of his sophomore year at nearly 200 pounds.
The numbers matched the tape. Evans passed every test. Checked every box. Collected an offer from all the big schools. He then lived up to the hype as a junior with nearly 2,000 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns. He averaged more than 10 yards per carry and was named the MaxPreps national junior player of the year.
None of this matters to Evans, of course. A cool, calm and collected teenager, he takes all the compliments and accolades in the same stride he takes to score touchdowns. There’s an aura of quiet confidence when he walks onto the field or into an interview.
It’s like he knows what we all think we know: He’s pretty darned good at football and possesses all the tools to be special.
“The stars and rankings help for publicity, and I do think I’m the best running back in the country, but it all comes down to football,” Evans said. “I’m still young and have a ton to improve on before college. I’m honored to be considered one of the best, but it also means I need to prove it each time out.”
Texas, Texas A&M and every SEC team is after him. It’s easier to list the top programs that haven’t offered than it is to list his offers. Evans is big. He’s fast. And he puts in the work.
“Zach is a different type of dude,” said North Shore quarterback Dematrius Davis. “He pushes you to be great because he’s going to be great. As a quarterback, you can’t ask for much more than the best running back in the country. He makes my job easier.”
The theme of teamwork and winning is important to Evans. He plays for the best high school program in the state and wants to continue winning in college. Most recruits mention playing time or the coaching staff when listing the important factors in their recruitment. Evans wants an offensive line.
“Nobody can run the football without blocking,” he said. “The team success will bring the individual stuff. I’m looking at the offensive line classes in the 2018, 2019 and 2020 cycle and trying to figure out what team is set at the offensive line because those guys are the most important in football.”
Eleven offensive linemen are on the Fab 55, more than any other position. Houston Clear Creek tackle Chad Lindberg is the top-ranked offensive lineman at No. 7, and Texas commit Logan Parr is No. 14.
Duncanville quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson is the state’s second-ranked prospect. He’s listed as an athlete because it’s unclear whether he’ll remain a quarterback or move to wide receiver or even defense in college. He’s a good enough player to start at all three spots in college. He nearly led Duncanville to an upset of North Shore in the state title game.
Wide receiver Demond Demas, cornerback Dwight McGlothern and wide receiver Troy Omeire round out the top five, respectfully. Demas is a state champion long jumper committed to Texas A&M. McGlothern is a long, rangy cornerback with the size to also play safety, and Omeire is a physical freak of nature with massive potential.
Texas commit Hudson Card is the second-ranked quarterback in the state at No. 17 overall, trailing only Malik Hornsby of Fort Bend Marshall. Texas offensive line commit Jake Majors is ranked 27th. Texas A&M holds commitments from six players on the list.
The Austin area is represented by Card, defensive linemen Princely Umanmielen and Alfred Collins, and wide receiver Collin Sullivan.
RANK PLAYER POS. HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE
1. Zachary Evans RB Galena Park North Shore (6A) Uncommitted
2. Ja'Quinden Jackson ATH Duncanville (6A) Uncommitted
3. Demond Demas WR Tomball (5A) Texas A&M
4. Dwight McGlothern CB Cedar Hill Trinity Christian (TAPPS) Uncommitted
5. Troy Omeire WR Fort Bend Austin (6A) Uncommitted
6. Vernon Broughton DE Cy Ridge (6A) Uncommitted
7. Chad Lindberg OT Clear Creek (6A) Uncommitted
8. Jase McClellan RB Aledo (5A) Oklahoma
9. Malik Hornsby QB Fort Bend Marshall (5A) North Carolina
10. RJ Mickens S Southlake Carroll (6A) Clemson
11. Lorando Johnson CB Lancaster (5A) LSU
12. Chris Thompson Jr. S Duncanville (6A) Uncommitted
13. Jaylon Jones CB Cibolo Steele (6A) Texas A&M
14. Logan Parr OG San Antonio O'Connor (6A) Texas
15. Alec Bryant DE Alvin Shadow Creek (5A) LSU
16. Courtland Ford OT Cedar Hill (6A) LSU
17. Hudson Card QB Lake Travis (6A) Texas
18. EJ Smith RB Dallas Jesuit (6A) Uncommitted
19. Drew Sanders ATH Denton Ryan (5A) Alabama
20. Branard Wright DT Dallas Carter (4A) Uncommitted
21. Darius Snow S Carrollton Hebron (6A) Michigan State
22. Alfred Collins DE Bastrop Cedar Creek (5A) Uncommitted
23. Seth McGowan RB Mesquite Poteet (5A) Uncommitted
24. Bryson Washington S C.E. King (6A) Uncommitted
25. James Sylvester DE Newton (2A) TCU
26, Jalen Kimber CB Mansfield Timberview (5A) Georgia
27. Jake Majors OG Prosper (6A) Texas
28. Prince Dorbah DE Highland Park (5A) Uncommitted
29. Collin Sullivan WR Round Rock (6A) Uncommitted
30. Marvin Mims WR Frisco Lone Star (5A) Uncommitted
31. Princely Umanmielen DE Manor (5A) Uncommitted
32. Jaylen Garth OT Port Neches-Groves (5A) Texas
33. Damien George OT Galena Park North Shore (6A) Uncommitted
34. DJ Graham WR Keller Central (6A) Oklahoma
35. Smart Chibuzo OT Fort Bend Hightower (5A) Texas A&M
36. Xavion Alford S Alvin Shadow Creek (5A) Uncommitted
37. Akinola Ogunbiyi OG Fort Bend Kempner (6A) LSU
38. DJ Warnell CB Dickinson (6A) Uncommitted
39. Korie Black CB Waco Connally (4A) Uncommitted
40. Devon Achane WR Fort Bend Marshall (5A) Uncommitted
41. Jerrin Thompson S Lufkin (5A) Uncommitted
42. Josh White OLB Cy Creek (6A) LSU
43. Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR Rockwall (6A) Ohio State
44. Jordan Jefferson OG Navasota (4A) Texas A&M
45. Brennon Scott OLB Bishop Dunne (TAPPS) Uncommitted
46. Michael Henderson ATH Carrollton Ranchview (4A) Oklahoma
47. Trent Pullen OG Waco Connally (4A) Oklahoma State
48. Kelvontay Dixon ATH Carthage (4A) Uncommitted
49. Parker Washington WR Fort Bend Travis (6A) Uncommitted
50. Brendon Lewis QB Melissa (4A) Uncommitted
51. Haynes King QB Longview (6A) Uncommitted
52. Quentin Johnston WR Temple (6A) Uncommitted
53. Josh Bankhead OG The Woodlands (6A) Texas A&M
54. Ken Seals QB Weatherford (6A) Vanderbilt
55. Loic Fouonji WR Midland Lee (6A) Uncommitted