After a not-so-easy recruiting journey, quarterback Ty Evans has withdrawn his verbal commitment from the University of Colorado.
Evans, who is on track to graduate this month from Palmer Ridge, is expected to sign his National Letter of Intent to North Carolina State next week.
The 2017 Gatorade Player of the Year for football in Colorado announced his verbal commitment to CU in January, but after the firing of coach Mike MacIntyre, Evans’ future as a Buff became fuzzy.
"I’ll be a Buff fan until I die, and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me, and all of the support," Evans said Monday. "I know a lot of people will be upset and won’t be happy with my decision but at the end of the day, they don’t have to go to the 6 a.m. workouts for four years, they don’t have to live on the campus and sit in the locker room after you lose a game. That’s my life and I am the one walking this path."
The combination of his early-enrollment status, Palmer Ridge's lengthy trip into the postseason and various college-signing deadlines, Evans had about two weeks after the state championship to decide his future.
"For all of the early commits, this situation really sucks because we have 14-15 days to try to figure out what we need to do with the next four years of our life," Evans said. "And that’s not a decision that you want to make in that short of a time. All of the early commits their lives just got flipped 180 and they’re just trying to land on their feet."
Last week’s hiring of Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker as CU’s new coach, and little information on Tucker’s plan for his staff, left Evans in the dark about the team he would soon be signing to.
"I have to explore my options and make sure I’m in the best situation,” Evans said in November.
The biggest question for Evans, who led Palmer Ridge to consecutive 3A state football championships, was whether quarterback coach Kurt Roper, who recruited Evans, would be retained. Evans said after MacIntyre’s firing that he and Roper have a good relationship, and have been in contact throughout the ordeal.
"I'm a very loyal person," Evans said. "They've known from Day 1 that Roper was my guy. He's a great mentor and he was a huge part of my decision. People say all the time commit to the school not the coaches, but I'm spending 75 percent of my time with those coaches, and they're the ones who are going to take me where my life is headed."
Tucker spoke with Evans last Thursday, but did not have any answers regarding his plan for his coaching staff. Later, Roper confirmed to Ty's father, Todd Evans, that he will not be returning to CU.
"We talked on the phone and he kind of gave me vague answers, and as an early enrollee I need a timeline and I need someone who has a plan for me and who my coaches are going to be," Ty Evans said of Tucker. "I had 10 days to figure out the next four years of my life. I can’t just hope for what is best."
With limited time to know for sure what he would be walking into come January, Ty Evans made a visit to N.C. State this past weekend.
While Evans was excited about staying in Colorado to be close to home and his 6-year-old brother Brody, Evans won’t be far from family in North Carolina. His older sister Mariah is a student at North Carolina, which is 15 minutes away. Mariah played for the UNC women’s volleyball team before having to medically retire last year.
“I hardly got any sleep the past week and a half, this was the only thing I could think about,” Evans said. “I had a conversation with my sister the night before (I committed) and we talked about everything and we talked about the magnitude of moving to North Carolina, across the nation in 23 days.
"Choosing N.C. State is going to be hard. It’s going to be difficult leaving my family because I am close with them but that’s going to force me to become a lot more grown up, and mature."
N.C. State submitted an offer to Evans in December of 2017, less than a month after he reopened his commitment after a similar situation at Arkansas. Evans withdrew his verbal commitment to the Razorbacks in November of 2017 after the firing of coach Bret Bielema.
Evans has stayed in touch with Bielema, who told Evans that NC State and coach Dave Doeren is his "best path to the (NFL)."
The WolfPack had seven players drafted in the 2018 NFL draft - including Broncos rookie Bradley Chubb, who was selected fifth. In April 2016 CBS named N.C. State the No. 2 top quarterback school in the country thanks in part to Philip Rivers and Russell Wilson, who both called the Pack home. Todd Evans said both Rivers and Wilson are still in touch with quarterback coach Eliah Drinkwitz.
A big plus for Evans is that it appears Doeren isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
According to a text from Todd Evans, Doeren turned down offers from Tennessee and Ole Miss last year to stay at N.C. State, and plans to stay until his sons, who are entering high school, graduate.
"It really just came down the that stability at N.C. State," Ty Evans said. "Coach Doeren has a long contract and he’s building a lake house out there which is a great sign that he’s not going anywhere. He wants to win championships there and I think that’s someone I can play under."
Last year Evans was named the Gazette Preps 3A-1A Football Peak Performer of the Year and the 2017-18 Gazette Preps Male Athlete of the Year.