SPECIAL REPORT FROM APP STATE SPORTS. April 24, 2020. BOONE, NC — App State made history in the NFL Draft on Friday, as running back Darrynton Evans went 93rd overall as a third-round pick of the Tennessee Titans.
COVER IMAGE: Evans crosses the goal line for one of his 34 career TDs in just three college seasons after redshirting his freshman year. Photographic image by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News
It’s the highest pick of a Sun Belt running back in the history of the conference, as three other drafted backs were sixth-round selections. In the last 25 years, only two other running backs from North Carolina colleges have been drafted higher than Evans: East Carolina’s Chris Johnson (24th in 2008) and North Carolina’s Gio Bernard (37th in 2013).
Evans, an early draft entry who was App State’s primary running back for just 23 games, posted career totals of 2,884 rushing yards and no fumbles on 482 carries (6.0 yards per attempt). Also a skilled returner and receiver, he had 4,642 all-purpose yards and 34 touchdowns in three college seasons.
In addition to being named the Sun Belt Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2019 and winning the Sun Belt rushing title in each of his final seasons, he collected three pieces of hardware in four postseason chances as a two-time MVP of the Sun Belt championship game and the MVP of the 2019 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
Evans rushed for 1,480 yards, totaled 2,064 all-purpose yards and ranked No. 3 nationally by scoring 24 touchdowns (18 rushing) in 2019. Against Charlotte, he became the first FBS player this millennium to post at least 200 rushing yards (234), score three rushing touchdowns and have a kickoff return for a touchdown in the same game.
From scoring on a 100-yard kickoff return against Penn State in 2018, to rushing for three touchdowns in a win at North Carolina and totaling 158 all-purpose yards in a win at South Carolina in 2019, Evans produced against some of the Mountaineers’ toughest opponents.
The big play at Penn State was one of his school-record three kickoff returns for touchdowns during his college career, and that game opened a 2018 season in which Evans rushed for a league-leading 1,187 rushing yards (with a 6.6 average per carry) even though he didn’t become App State’s primary back until Game 5.
As someone who has completed the 40-yard dash in less than 4.40 seconds and ranked second at the NFL Scouting Combine with a time of 4.41, Evans used his track speed to amass 11 runs of at least 50 yards over his final two seasons and record three kickoff returns of at least 94 yards during his App State career.
He also earned recognition for his academic excellence, as he was labeled the Sun Belt’s top football scholar in 2018 and relied on his intelligence to perform well at several positions throughout his career.
In program history, the only App State offensive players to be picked higher than Evans are receiver Brian Quick (No. 33 in 2012), receiver Dexter Jackson (No. 58 in 2008) and quarterback-turned-receiver Armanti Edwards (No. 89 in 2010).