Michigan running back Chris Evans 'humbled' by time away from team, school

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Michigan running back Chris Evans, recently reinstated to the university after a suspension for academic misconduct, said he was “humbled” during his time away from the team and school.

Evans will enroll at Michigan in January, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said last week, a few days after Evans tweeted: “I been in the dark, but I PROMISE you’ll see a brighter me!” along with a photo of him in his Michigan uniform.

Michigan running back Chris Evans will re-enroll at the university in January.

During an interview with Dennis Fithian on 97.1 FM on Monday, Evans, in his first public comments since his reinstatement, said he never considered giving up on finishing his career at Michigan and transferring.

“The Michigan motto is, ‘Those who stay will be champions,’ and I really believe in that,” Evans told Fithian. “Even growing up an Ohio State fan and Ohio State offering me two weeks before signing day after I’d been committed to Michigan for six months, Urban Meyer calling me and telling me, ‘Make your dream become a reality,’ that was a dream hearing him say that. But I had to stay loyal and stay with who I gave my word to, and that’s what I went with.”

Evans will not officially be part of the team until the winter term, but said starting last Monday he’s been back in the football facility working out with the team.

“I always had doubts because I didn’t know what could happen,” he said. “If they could suspend me for a year, I didn’t know at this point what could happen, so I’m just grateful for the opportunity and ready to get back rolling.”

In an interview with The Detroit News last March, Evans said he was working for Ann Arbor restaurant Ahmo’s making deliveries, earning a wage and tips. He also took online courses, worked out in the evenings at Xplosive Performance Academy and coached his non-profit 7-on-7 youth football team, CE Stars, founded in 2017. Evans said in the radio interview he also has coached at Ann Arbor Huron.

Harbaugh last Monday said Evans would be returning to the team.

“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, who had been suspended by the university in early February, has one year of eligibility remaining. In three years at Michigan, Evans played in 37 games and had 304 carries for 1,722 yards and 14 touchdowns.

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 last 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.”

Evans told Fithian he learned a lot during his time away from the program.

“I know that you can be working hard for something your whole life, literally, and it can be taken away for just one mistakes that you made,” he said. “Perseverance. I could have not done anything or tried to drop everything and transfer, but I learned a lot about loyalty.

“It was mind-boggling just stepping away. Not being a Michigan football player was kind of weird in public and stuff like that, but I used that as getting humbled and taking my slice of pie.”


Twitter: @chengelis