High School Sports

Lee County 9th-grader Desmond Evans looks like top freshman recruit in North Carolina

Adam Friedman, Rivals.com’s Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst, said Providence Day receiver Porter Rooks is one of the state’s top ninth-grade high school football players. He believes there’s a freshman in Sanford who could be one of the best college football recruits to come out North Carolina.

Lee County’s Desmond Evans is a 6-foot-6, 200-pound defensive end who has 28 solo tackles, eight batted balls and 6.5 sacks for a 7-0 team. He turned 14 three weeks ago. He’s at least a year younger than most of the freshmen filling high school rosters.

Evans has quickly become a big name in Sanford, about an hour north of Fayetteville in eastern North Carolina.

“This guy,” Friedman said, “his film is pretty freakin’ special. You don’t see guys come off the ball like he does and he has a natural aggression and quick-twitch nose for the ball. I don’t want to blow him up too much, but I’m excited to see what he can do. He’s got a frame that you can’t teach and coordination to go with it.”

Evans was 13 when he played his first three varsity games, and he holds scholarship offers from Kentucky, North Carolina and N.C. State. Lee County defensive coordinator Foster Cates said almost every ACC school is recruiting Evans, and he’s starting to receive serious attention from Georgia and South Carolina, too.

“The best way to say it,” Cates said, referring to Evans’ performance, potential and recruiting, “is to say there’s nothing normal about it. He’s got a very high motor, an extremely high motor. He’s very long. He uses his hands well. He doesn’t back down from contact.

“He’s not much of a prima-donna defensive end that’s pretty on the edge (and) can just rush the passer. He’ll take on a pulling guard and does a good job doing his job.”

Cates said Evans has a body that could easily add 30 pounds.

“As far as potential he’s raw,” Cates said. “(North) Carolina watched his film after his first two games and said he’s a raw piece of steak. He’s not out there playing perfect technique. A lot of it is he’s 6-6, 200 pounds and can run and change directions. That’s tough to account for.

“But how good can he be? As good as he wants to be. The good Lord’s blessed him. I tell him that every day, that ‘The good Lord has blessed you and make sure you use it.’