There may not be a more electric and exciting player to watch in the 2020 college football recruiting cycle than running back Zachary Evans. There will be plenty of teams trying to have the 5-star recruit join their program, but only a few have a legitimate shot at landing him.
As it stands, Evans is the top overall recruit in the country. His highlight reels are already starting to take the internet by storm, and he's also getting attention from some of the biggest schools and coaches in college football.
There are a number of factors that will play into Evans' decision. The opportunity to stay in his home state of Texas will be a consideration, but he'll also be factoring in playing time, title chances, coaching systems and simply whether or not the school has already expressed enough interest.
Let's take a look at some of the top potential landing spots for Evans in 2020.
All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.
According to 247Sports' Crystal Ball Projections, the Texas Longhorns are the way-too-early front-runners to land the Houston resident. That's not surprising when you consider all of the factors we've discussed.
Obviously, a chance to play in-state and help with the Longhorns' rebuild is an enticing opportunity for any young player. Texas is coming off its first 10-win season since going 13-1 in 2009, and that's in large part thanks to head coach Tom Herman, now in his third year.
Herman was able to help the Longhorns land the third-best recruiting class in 2019. There were a bunch of big names in that class, but not a true standout at running back. That's great news if Evans wants to play in Austin, because it'll open the door for opportunities to start sooner instead of later.
Talented running backs such as Earl Campbell, Ricky Williams and Jamaal Charles have gone on to have NFL success out of UT. Evans will have a chance to carry on that legacy of talented runners if he decides to play for the Longhorns.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide are no strangers to landing top running back recruits on a yearly basis. In fact, the Crimson Tide landed the top RB in the 2019 class in IMG Academy's Trey Sanders.
That marked the third time since 2015 that Alabama was able to land the best running back in the country, with Najee Harris and Damien Harris being the other two. That leaves the door open to a discussion about whether or not Evans will want to play for a team that consistently competes for national titles.
The real issue that makes this potential landing spot difficult is the Crimson Tide's crowded backfield. It can be difficult for young running backs on Saban's teams to get touches, and that can be frustrating for some.
On the other hand, a light workload in college can be great in the long run if Evans is already thinking about the NFL. Not being a workhorse at the college level could mean that Evans will be fresh and healthy once he's able to go pro.
That can still be a hard sell for Evans, but let's not count Alabama out of the running just yet.
Texas A&M Aggies
Another prestigious program in the state of the Texas, A&M should be in the running for Evans until he makes his official commitment.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher has a history of landing big-time recruits, especially during his time with the Florida State Seminoles. His first full recruiting cycle with the Aggies helped them finish with the No. 4 overall class for 2019.
Now, the Aggies are hard at work trying to find their next superstar running back. Trayveon Williams may have been a smaller back at 5'9'' and 200 pounds, but he finished his final college season by rushing for 1,760 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging 6.5 yards per carry.
The current Texas A&M roster doesn't feature another 5-star running back, which means that Evans could come in and quickly establish himself as "the guy." Fisher's system has already shown that his offenses can put up some big numbers, which could help Evans' draft status as soon as he sets foot on campus.
The Aggies are still working on becoming national title contenders, and adding a player like Evans would significantly help those chances.
The University of Georgia has unofficially become "RB U" over the past couple of years, producing some elite running backs such as Todd Gurley, Sony Michel and Nick Chubb.
That line of NFL-caliber backs is set to continue in future NFL draft classes, with D'Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield set to go pro in the coming years. Perhaps Evans could join that long list of names.
An opportunity to play in a pro-style offense with a heavy focus on the running game would be appealing to Evans, as would the opportunity to play on the SEC stage. He visited Athens at the end of January, so there is at least some interest there.
Kirby Smart hasn't had an issue bringing big names to play for the Bulldogs. He even brought in this year's No. 1 recruit, Nolan Smith, so it's not out of the question for Georgia to land another No. 1 overall high school player.
With Evans, Georgia could continue to make some serious noise in the most talented conference in college football.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Mike Gundy's Cowboys may not be the most elite program on this list, but Oklahoma State may have a legitimate shot at landing Evans in the next year.
Evans had an unofficial visit with the Cowboys last March and called his trip "amazing," according to Robert Allen of GoPokes.
What might be going against the Cowboys is their lack of a dominant offensive line, which Evans said is a big factor in deciding where he wants to go.
"I don't want to go to a school without big boys up front," Evans said. "I want some bullies. I don't want to run behind any kids."
Gundy and his staff are already making moves on that front, landing a 2020 commitment from 4-star offensive tackle Eli Russ. If that continues to be a point of emphasis for next year's recruiting class, then the Cowboys still might have a shot to land the biggest name in the country.