Today is July 30, 2019, which means we are officially just 32 days away from the Virginia Tech Hokies opening the college football season at Boston College. Yesterday, we looked back at No. 33 Ken Edwards, a fullback for the Hokies from 1967-69 and also his son, Tommy, a Hokie running back in the early 90s.
For No. 32, we look back at Darren Evans, a Hokie from 2007-10. Evans arrived in Blacksburg in 2007 as one of the top running back prospects in the country from powerful Warren Central High in Indianapolis, Ind.
As a senior at Warren Central, Evans was named as a Parade All-American and the EA Sports National Player of the Year. Evans, followed by Ryan Williams and David Wilson, was one of three highly-ranked running backs who came to Virginia Tech each year from 2007-09.
Evans redshirted in 2007, playing behind Branden Ore. He won the starting job in 2008, after Frank Beamer dismissed Ore from the team in March. Evans would play in all 14 games for the Hokies, making nine starts. He led Tech in rushing that season, finishing with 1,265 yards on 287 attempts, scoring 11 touchdowns.
His performance in a Thursday night win over Maryland in November is still in the Virginia Tech record books. Evans broke the single-game record with 253 rushing yards against the Terps. He also scored a rushing touchdown in each of Virginia Tech’s first six games of the season, which was also a record.
Instead of Evans building off a fantastic redshirt freshman season in 2009, he tore the ACL in his left knee and missed the entire season. His absence allowed Williams to take the reins and become Tech’s next star tailback. In 2010, Evans would return and Williams missed some time with injuries, allowing Wilson to show off his ability. For the 2010 season, Evans played in all 14 games, with nine starts and led the Hokies in rushing with 854 yards and 11 scores. It was truly amazing the talent the Hokies had at the running back position in 2009 and 2010.
Evans bypassed his final year of eligibility in 2011 and entered the NFL Draft. While he was not drafted, he did spend time on the rosters of his hometown Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans.
During his four seasons at Virginia Tech, the Hokies won the ACC title three times, two of which were when Evans was the starting running back. He was a special back, much like Williams and Wilson. All three brought something different to the table. Had Evans not been injured in 2009, his name would be much higher in the record books, yet he still finished with 2,119 yards and 22 touchdowns in two seasons of playing time.
Hokies, what are your favorite memories of Evans?