By Nathan Ham
It has been a whirlwind year for Appalachian State football.
Two head coaches, a win over the UNC Tarheels, a win over the SEC’s South Carolina Gamecocks, a Halloween heartbreak, another Sun Belt Championship and yet another bowl win for the Appalachian State Mountaineers all made this season a year to remember.
With his outstanding performances and recognition as the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year award, Darrynton Evans has decided that he has accomplished all he can at the collegiate level. The junior running back will forego his final season with the black and gold to put his name in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Evans made his official announcement on Twitter on Christmas Day, four years to the date when he announced his commitment to play football for the Mountaineers in 2015.
“On Christmas Day in 2015, I was afforded the opportunity to pursue my goal of receiving a college education while playing Division 1 collegiate football. Today, I get to follow another dream. After much prayer and discussion with my family, coaches, and teammates, I have decided to enter the 2020 NFL Draft and forego my last season at App State,” Evans said in his statement. “While I won’t be physically present in Boone, my heart will always belong to The Rock.”
Evans will be remembered as one of the best offensive players to ever suit up for the Mountaineers. Statistically, Evans tied a single-season Sun Belt Conference record with 24 touchdowns. He also had the fourth-best single-season rushing performance in App State history with 1,480 rushing yards. Evans was named Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year, Sun Belt Championship Game MVP and he capped it all off by being named the MVP of the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. The Mountaineers finished the season with a 13-1 record.
If Evans does get his name called in April’s NFL Draft, he would become the first Appalachian State running back to ever be drafted and the 26th player from App State drafted since 1960. The last Mountaineer to be taken in the draft was guard Colby Gossett, who was drafted in the sixth round, pick number 213 overall by the Minnesota Vikings in 2018.
This year’s Mountaineer team has arguably its deepest draft pool of talent that could have their names called in the draft. In addition to Evans, senior outside linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither has a great chance of being taken by an NFL team. Davis-Gaither was recently named an All-American by Phil Steele and will take part in the 2020 Senior Bowl in Mobile where NFL Scouts will be on hand to see some of the top seniors in the nation. Davis-Gaither was also listed as the top Sun Belt Conference draft prospect entering the 2019 season at Drafttek.com.
Other players that are on the radar of NFL teams include senior linebacker Jordan Fehr, senior offensive tackle Victor Johnson, and senior defensive lineman E.J. Scott.