Michigan running back Chris Evans will be eligible to play in 2020

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor – Michigan running back Chris Evans, suspended a year by the university for academic reasons, will be reinstated for winter term and eligible to play football next year.

Chris Evans

Evans has not been enrolled at Michigan during his suspension but remained in Ann Arbor taking online classes and working a restaurant delivery job.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that Evans will be reinstated for the winter term that begins in January and will be able to play football.

“My knowledge of the situation is, he had a meeting, a productive meeting, a scheduled meeting to see if he’d be reinstated back into school, and my understanding is that he will be for the winter term, and we will welcome him back to the football team,” Harbaugh said at his weekly news conference.

“When he gets back in school he’ll be able to participate fully in football again.”

Evans has one year of eligibility remaining.

Last week via Twitter, Evans hinted at his return. He has one year of eligibility remaining.

“I been in the dark, but I PROMISE you’ll see a brighter me!” Evans tweeted.

Evans was suspended by the University of Michigan in early February. In an interview with The Detroit News in March, he would not share the specifics but stressed it was not an issue with his grades.

“It’s an academic mistake,” Evans said at the time. “Not my grades. I’m on pace to graduate.”

He said he was earning a salary and tips delivering orders for Ann Arbor restaurant Ahmo’s, taking online courses and working out in the evenings at Xplosive Performance Academy. Evans filed an eight-page, double-spaced essay to appeal his suspension and have it cut in half allowing him to return to football this fall, but the year-long suspension remained in place.

“What would I do?” Evans said at the time when asked if the university would 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.”

Defensive tackle and co-captain Carlo Kemp said he’s delighted for Evans who was part of the same recruiting class to Michigan.

“Chris is one of the hardest workers I know,” Kemp said Monday. “It’s a testament to his character of how he’s had to work even harder now. He had to work at such a hard level to get himself back to this position and you can only be happy and proud of him just because of all the trials and tribulations he’s had to go through to get back to this point.

“He’s a running back from the 2016 class – he’s one of my guys, he’s one of my brothers and I’m just super excited and I’m so happy he has an opportunity to come back and do what he loves to do.”

Patting Peters on the back

Former Michigan quarterback Brandon Peters led Illinois from a 28-3 deficit at Michigan State last Saturday to a 37-34 victory.

Peters, a graduate transfer from Michigan, threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns, and the Illini are bowl eligible for the first time since 2014. Harbaugh said he sent Peters a text after the game.

“Said great job, congratulations on  a fine game,” Harbaugh said.

Ross to get redshirt

Middle linebacker Josh Ross suffered a high ankle sprain in the Wisconsin game and although he's finally healthy, Harbaugh said they want to preserve his redshirt.

"He's back," Harbaugh said. "He's prepared and ready to play. Our plan with Josh is to play in one more game. He hasn't redshirted so far and with the time that he's already missed, hopefully we'll have the luxury of only playing him in one more game and getting him an extra year. That would give him two more after this season. That's our hope that we'll be able to do that."

Cam McGrone stepped up immediately to replace Ross and has been playing at a high level since. He's the Wolverine's fifth-leading tackler with 46 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and a forced fumble.


Twitter: @chengelis