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The Potential and Production of Caleb Evans

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Caleb Evans, with just one season of starting experience under his belt, has already done things very few quarterbacks ever have.

Judging by the company he keeps, Evans might one day need room made for him in the record books.

What Louisiana-Monroe quarterback Caleb Evans accomplished last season really was impressive. The rising-junior is one of the nation's most effective signal callers; remarkably, the numbers suggest he could be even more. Evans is fresh off a year where his potential, the full scope of a dynamic array of skills, were on clear display. Now that Evans has found his role as the leader of the Warhawks, he deserves college football's full attention.

The story, starting with the large, tight-knit Evans family, is a unique one. Caleb is the next-in-line in an athletic lineage where moments in time have often been saved on the stadium scoreboard. His father Efrem played football at Eastern New Mexico, brother Lance at Texas A&M Commerce and brother Jerod recently starred at Virginia Tech and was with multiple NFL teams. At Bishop Dunne High School in Texas, Caleb scored 64 total touchdowns and went undefeated through the regular season as a senior, winning a state title as a junior.

Success, here, is nothing new.

A year after Jerod set a new program record for total offense in a single season in Blacksburg, Caleb appears to be on a similar track. In 2015, Jerod completed 63.5% of his passes at 8.4 yards per attempt, averaging 4.2 yards per rush and running for 12 touchdowns; in 2016, Caleb completed 61.3% of his throws at 8.3 yards per attempt, with 4.2 yards per rush and 13 scores. To say his success is relative might make you stop and think.

Furthermore, for Evans, his box score brethren are also a rare group.

Last fall, Evans threw for 2,868 yards and 17 touchdowns, with a passer rating of144.2, adding 579 yards and scoring 13 times on the ground. Since 2000, the only other players with 2,800 passing yards, a pass efficiency rating of 144, 500 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns in one year are: Quinton Flowers, Lamar Jackson, Colin Kaepernick, Dan Lefevour, Jordan Lynch, Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, Cam Newton, Dak Prescott, Tim Tebow, Greg Ward and Marquise Williams. Evans, Jackson, Manziel and Tebow were the only ones to do it as underclassmen, the latter three all winning the Heisman Trophy.    

Judging by the company he keeps, Evans might one day need room made for him in the record books. 

Evans, as a sophomore, was the catalyst for a record-setting Louisiana-Monroe attack under head coach Matt Viator and coordinator Matt Kubik that ranked in the national top 25 in both scoring and total offense. The Warhawks reached at least 50 points four different times in Sun Belt play, averaging an astonishing 42.1 points per game against conference competition. During a three-game winning streak to open the league schedule, Louisiana-Monroe scored a combined 152 points.

Obviously, Evans was a consistently-productive playmaker a season ago. He topped the 400-yard passing mark versus Arkansas State, Idaho and Texas State and ran for at least 90 yards against Louisiana, South Alabama and Southern Miss. Evans scored six times in a game twice last year, lighting up the Ragin' Cajuns and Red Wolves. Also of note, he didn't throw an interception the first half of the season and finished the schedule with the most passing yards without a pick of any team against Florida State all year.

What is fascinating is that Evans made his biggest impressions at the beginning and end of the Sun Belt slate. He formally introduced himself as starter by becoming college football's lone quarterback of the season to rush for five touchdowns in regulation as he did at Louisiana. Evans' last league contest with a truly grand finale as he threw for 454 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 61 yards and two scores versus Arkansas State, becoming the only player in the country to reach all of those milestones in one outing last fall.

Start to finish, it was a season to remember; with two more years remaining, Evans is just now settling in.

Evans, with just one season of starting experience under his belt, has already done things very few quarterbacks ever have. As one of nine returning starters on offense for Louisiana-Monroe, he moves forward with momentum and motivation. Get ready to see much more of the latest Evans football standout, now poised to emerge as his own national name.   

Caleb Evans is already a star. The shine is coming soon.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports