Running back Chris Evans will not play for Michigan this season

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Running back Chris Evans will not play for Michigan this season, head coach Jim Harbaugh confirmed Sunday.

Allendale, Mich. — Michigan running back Chris Evans, suspended earlier in the year by the university because of an academic issue, hasn’t been a member of the football team since then and will not be with the Wolverines this fall.

Evans had appealed the decision to the university hoping to have it cut from one year to a half year, which would allow him to play football this fall, but that hasn’t happened.

“Chris Evans is suspended for the year,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh told The Detroit News on Sunday after speaking at the Best of the Midwest football camp at Grand Valley State.

The decision was made by the university, not the football program.

Harbaugh had said at the start of spring practice there was a chance Evans could work his way back. Evans, no longer enrolled at Michigan and, obviously, no longer on a football scholarship, told The News in March the issue was “an academic mistake. Not my grades. I’m on pace to graduate.”

Evans had taken a job at an Ann Arbor restaurant delivering take-out orders and was working out at Xplosive Performance Academy in Southfield to stay in shape. He wrote an eight-page letter to the university to appeal the decision.

“What would I do?” Evans said, when asked in March if the university does not shorten the suspension. “Keep doing what I’m doing. As soon as I get back, I’m ready. It’s not like I won’t ever be able to play again, I’m just playing the waiting game.

“It’s hard, but in my case a lot of people don’t have the mental ability to withstand what I’m going through right now. My parents countless times told me, ‘Just come home and you can figure it out.’ I wanted to stay up here, make sure I got a job, just to show them I’m serious about it. I just want to finish what I started. I’m big on loyalty, especially like just through the whole process of me committing to Michigan and then getting offered by Ohio State late, I’m just keeping the commitment to them. And just showing my commitment still. Loyalty is the first thing.”

Evans told The News that after the one-year suspension he can rejoin the university and team in January 2020.

Evans was the Wolverines' second-leading rusher last season, with 423 yards on 81 carries (5.2 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. He also caught 18 passes for 148 yards and another touchdown.

With Evans out for the season, Michigan will rely on running backs Christian Turner, Tru Wilson and incoming freshman Zach Charbonnet.

Twitter: @chengelis