Chris Evans Hosts 7-on-7 Tournament Outside Detroit

Chris Evans Hosts 7-on-7 Tournament Outside Detroit

Football

Chris Evans Hosts 7-on-7 Tournament Outside Detroit


Michigan running back Chris Evans, teammate Karan Higdon and pass game coordinator Pep Hamilton hosted a 7-on-7 tournament for under-14 student-athletes on Saturday.


Chris Evans Hosts 7-on-7 Tournament Outside Detroit

Michigan’s tailback continued to play a big role off the field.

WYANDOTTE, Mich. – In college football, the roles are pretty much set – there’s the head coach, who hires assistant coaches who can enact their vision, and the recruits those coaches bring in become their players. That’s the world of college football, and obviously it’s quite similar at the pro level.

But on Saturday, there was something of a role reversal.

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At Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte (MI), Michigan pass game coordinator Pep Hamilton was calling plays, signaling to the quarterback the next move. But the head coach of that team, the man who got him here, is usually a player who would receive instruction from Hamilton, rather than give it.

Michigan third-year running back Chris Evans has notoriously taken to coaching since arriving in Ann Arbor, using much of his free time coaching in camps and clinics around Michigan and near his hometown of Indianapolis. But the enigmatic tailback took his coaching game to another level, hosting a 7-on-7 tournament for both 12-under teams as well as 8th and 9th graders. There were two sessions, one in the morning for the 12u teams – four in total – and another in the afternoon for the five teams who had a little more experience. Teams came from as far as Indianapolis, and of the nine teams who participated, three were directly coached by Evans, with Hamilton coaching the offense of the younger team (his son was the quarterback) and fellow Michigan tailback Karan Higdon working with the 8th grade offense.

For Evans, it’s an incredible experience to give back and to hold a tournament like this, as he’s not only able to impart the wisdom he’s accumulated throughout the years, but to do so for no cost to the participants.

“One of the teams came from Indianapolis, and they came and fought hard,” Evans said. “They wanted to come through and see the facility. I just wanted to give everybody a chance to play. It was a free event.

“Another fellow Michigan athlete – he used to play back in the day. He was an All-American, he played in the Rose Bowl. He donated some money for the kids from a non-profit, and got the ball rolling. And we got to host this event for free.”

A lot of times, you hear of competition coming into play when it involves two teammates at the same position.

While Evans and Higdon might be competing for playing time at Michigan, when it comes to working with kids, they’re even more teammates in the coaching ranks. There’s no ‘who’s coaching better?’ or ‘who can field a better offense/defense?’ Higdon says that it’s all about helping make the youth as good as they can possibly be.

“We were just working together to win,” Higdon said. “At the end of the day, his defense was going to hold it down, the offense was going to do their job. We did that, and we’re proud of the outcome.”

And they showed how good they could be.

Playing on the 12-under team, Hamilton’s son showed off his natural abilities mixed with his father’s coaching. But Pep wasn’t afraid to sit his son for a moment when the instruction evaded him. Because of that teachable moment, he learned from his mistake, and helped lead the 12u team to the tournament championship.

The 14u team featured a familiar name to Michigan fans in recent weeks – the Wolverines youngest offeree as of current.

After a strong showing at Michigan’s camp last month, 2023 quarterback Dante Moore netted a coveted offer from the maize and blue, even though he’s still a year away from playing a down at high school. At 6-foot-2, though, Moore has already shown considerable poise for his age, and he continued to show why the likes of Evans and former Michigan signal caller Devin Gardner are keen to work with him.

Higdon has also coached Moore, even before Saturday, as the upcoming eighth-grader was part of the senior Michigan RB’s team as part of the Youth Impact Program this past summer. Despite his youth, Higdon can see precisely why Moore was deserving of the early offer.

“Great kid, great kid!” Higdon said. “I got to work with him at YIP camp. Got to see him (play so well there) and then do what he did today, it just confirms my thoughts.

“He gets the ball out there. He’ll put it on a dime. He spins it very nice, and I’m happy to see him (get the offer) from M Go Blue!”

For the most part, it’ll be a long ways for these players to start getting recruited. But, to WolverinesWire, the Beast Mode of the day was 2021 Battle Creek (MI) running back Tyshaan Williams, who was making huge plays on both sides of the ball. At 5-foot-11, 210-pounds, Williams already looks the part of a physical specimen, and has heard from a bevy of programs, even in these early stages, including Michigan, Michigan State, Miami (FL), Florida Atlantic, Wisconsin, Iowa and several others.

Michigan is the dream school, Williams told WolverinesWire, but he’s just looking forward to the recruiting process starting in earnest. But even getting a chance to compete and learn from a running back who’s already achieving at the level he hopes to soon was revelatory in its own right.

“It was a big opportunity to just come up here and compete,” Williams said. “Everyone was watching, and got some good reps in. It was a good experience.

“It’s perfect, because (Chris Evans) fits my type of running back, fits my play type. And I’d ask Karan the same thing, so I’d get the best of both worlds. I have a goal, so I take in as much information as I can from them.”

It’s a testament to Evans that he put such an event together. It was a modest tournament, but given that the now-217-pound tailback arranged a 7-on-7 tournament while knee-deep in summer conditioning and the excesses that come with being a student-athlete at Michigan, it was a home run, not just for the kids who got to participate, but him as well.

Coaching is obviously in his future, and while he continues his ascent on the running back depth chart, his ability to work with youth and impart football knowledge only helps him become that much more well-rounded as a player, as he’s able to think and direct others critically about the game.

“Just seeing all the kids grow up – that black squad and I built that gold squad almost six months ago now – just seeing them grow up from what they were to what they are now – they’re thinking a little different, they’re bigger, they’re faster, they’re stronger,” Evans said. “It’s good to see that, and them doing their thing with it.”

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