During last Friday’s press conference, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was reminded of his prediction from a year ago about Chris Evans. Harbaugh called Evans an emerging player with a big upside.
Evans, then a freshman running back out of Indianapolis, delivered on the prediction, playing in all 13 games last year with 88 carries for 628 yards, four touchdowns and an impressive 7 yards per carry average.
When Harbaugh was reminded of his “prediction,” he said, ““Did I? This time last year I said Chris Evans? I was right.”
He certainly was right. So, Nostradamus, who are the “emerging players” this year? The outspoken coach spoke highly of several players on his emerging radar.
“Alright, I’ll give you a couple,” he said. “The receivers are doing really well. DPJ and Oliver Martin and Tarik Black are making a lot of plays. They really are. They’re making some superb athletic types of plays. I’ve never seen freshmen doing it the way they’re doing it.
“Nico just got out there, Nico Collins. Half the guys we just kept all through summer school. And James Ross is really playing well.”
Harbaugh wasn’t able to predict Ross’ first name however. It’s JOSH Ross. But the coach can be forgiven. James Ross is Josh’s older brother, who also played linebacker at Michigan.
“Josh Ross,” Harbaugh says. “I call him James half the time to his face.”
And how does the freshman out of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s reacts to the “name calling?”
“He laughs,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a real hitter. It’s hard to imagine. I mean, what was he like in high school when he’s hitting guys out here in the college game like that.”
Harbaugh then moved on down the line.
“Another guy giving everybody a run for their money is Ben Mason,” he said. “Just a wonderful, wonderful, physical football player. He will help us this year. He’ll help us win games. He’s climbing up the depth chart at the fullback position. He’s made to be a fullback. Just real excited to watch him. Every day you just get excited to watch him come play.”
And then the conversation came “back” to Evans and the running backs. Harbaugh called the group “really good” and is excited to see what this group brings to the offense in 2017.
“Chris Evans, Karan [Higdon] has been really good, and Ty Isaac,” he said. “I mean, that guy’s so slippery it’s unbelievable. He just bobs and weaves and tough to get down to the ground. I really see good things for him. Kareem Walker has started to assert himself; practicing good. The backs seem good.”
He was right last year so no reason to doubt the coach this year.