Evan Pryor: UGA is a big contender after latest unofficial from the elite junior RB
Evan Pryor has now taken at least four visits to UGA. That’s enough to know a few things for certain about how snug his potential fit might be in the Georgia backfield.
It goes further than making sure he tries on a white jersey next time to be sure he hits for the cycle on Bulldog photo shoots. He’s already checked off the red and black togs.
The William Amos Hough High School rising senior (Cornelius, NC) lives only about a 3.5 hour trip down I-85 from Athens. He has not made an official cutdown yet, but that is pending.
“I’m down to about five or six schools,” he said. “I will just pick five out of those five or six schools, take my officials and hopefully be done with this thing by July.”
The potential is certainly there for the nation’s no. 6 RB (247Sports Composite ratings) to not use an official for another trip to Athens. That distance is manageable. But one takeaway from his most recent unofficial visit this weekend will render those logistics moot.
He will include the Bulldogs as one of his five officials. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound RB sounds about as confident in that as he is in the kitchen at breakfast time.
Pryor knows Athens is close. He could pass on using an official to see Georgia.
“Right but I will,” he said. “Because I’ve really gotten in good and been able to chop it up with the players and the other recruits like that. I feel like it will be a good chance to kind of pick the player’s brain to really see how the university is and things like that.”
Evan Pryor: How he feels about the new wrinkles
The chief reason behind his latest visit was necessary to get a good gauge of new Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken.
“Being able to sit down and watch film with coach [Todd] Monken was great,” Pryor said. “I got to see how he does things and see how things will look for UGA this year.”
He expanded on that “how things will look” topic.
“It is very good,” Pryor said. “It is professional. Like from talking to coach Monken, his offense is what football is turning in to be. Using the back in space. Using the back out of the backfield and also still handing the ball off. I like it a lot. I think it is great.”
He’s a shifty back that measured in at 5.9.5 and 190 pounds at his Opening regional showing in April of 2019.
He will be a three down back in the college game. Clearly. That’s something that is not brought up a lot on the DawgNation message board forum in regard to his game.
He topped the 1,000-yard mark last fall as a junior, but there’s more to his skill set than that.
He also had 38 catches for 646 yards and and eight touchdowns in the passing game.
Those totals averaged out to 17 yards per catch. All told, it means he was good for an average of 130 all-purpose yards per game last fall. Amos Hough finished last season with an 8-5 record.
Does that mean this new Monken offense fits him better now?
Pryor considered that though for an instant, but then remembered what elite backs like D’Andre Swift, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel were able to do in the Georgia offense before the new play caller arrived.
“Nah, I feel like I can go into any system and be successful,” Pryor said. “I feel like in the last system I could have came in and ate and in this system I can do the same.”
He felt that shiny new “Commit to the G” locker room sign was impressive. He said he had never seen anything like it at another school on a visit.
“That was amazing,” he said. “It lit up the whole room. Didn’t make any sound. It did give off a lot of heat, too.”
That’s some of the flash and swag for a photo shoot. But Pryor is now past the point of taking trips to UGA for fun and games.
“At this point, I feel like I have had a lot of great visits and up to this point I feel like it is more important for us to build a relationship and get comfortable with the staff and people around the area,” Pryor said.
Georgia is recruiting Pryor along with several other elite backs in the 2021 class. Will Shipley, the 5-star North Carolina, is a priority. There is also Cody Brown and Lovasea Carroll and their clear in-state ties.
Michigan 5-star Donovan Edwards was also in town this weekend with Pryor on a visit.
— Evan Pryor (@evanpryor3) February 2, 2020
Pryor is keenly aware of the elite talents looking at Georgia. Expect the Bulldogs to take two more backs in the 2021 cycle. That will be vital after taking just one back in 2019 and then expecting to see James Cook and Zamir White explore their professional opportunities after the 2020 season.
Brock Vandagriff is also a big early piece that recruits notice. Everyone wants to play with a 5-star QB.
“They get all these five stars and huge linemen,” Pryor said of Georgia. “They are competing for something every year. It is kind of hard not to take a look and say that’s a good school and go visit. And then on top of that they are sending running back to the league left and right so it almost a must to see Georgia if you are one of the top running backs in the nation.”
Evan Pryor: The things to know moving forward
Pryor took that trip to UGA for two key reasons:
- The chance to met and sit down with Monken
- Another opportunity to chat with Kirby Smart
What was the big message?
“Georgia just told me how highly they thought of me,” Pryor said. “They were only looking at five or six backs in the class and that I was one of them. They said I was one of them who would say if I wanted to commit right now, then I would be able to commit. It is a committable offer and they want me. So just getting that message across to me and letting me know how much I am wanted in Athens.”
He said he’s only been in contact with 10 or 11 schools lately. Pryor feels that all 10 or 11 have all said that his offer is committable.
Pryor’s most recent public cutdown was a top 10, but he will trim that last public list down to five or six schools. He will take his five officials out of that group.
Have any other schools already secured an official visit?
“Yeah definitely,” Pryor said. “Penn State and Ohio State.”
When he thinks of those three programs, he notices a lot of parallels to his core criteria for a decision.
“I feel like the ability to compete for a national title is something they all have in common at the top of the polls,” he said. “Competing for something great. Then also my ultimate goal is to get to the NFL and every year big-name running backs coming into the draft are coming from one of those three schools or a few more here and there. So those are my main attractions.”
Jordan Davis, a former North Carolina high school player, stays in touch with Pryor. He feels Davis is something who will help him recognize what is real as he considers UGA down the stretch.
Off the field: Getting to know Evan Pryor
Pryor is well-equipped to impress in the kitchen, too.
“It would definitely be anything in the breakfast realm,” he said. “Definitely breakfast. I am a great breakfast guy. I like to cook breakfast a lot.”
The go-to meal here would be a Pryor plate of chicken and waffles. That’s what he’d whip up to impress a future Miss North Carolina winner on a date.
“I do that very very well,” he said. “I do pancakes well. Eggs. Bacon. I’m a big grits fan. I’ve done an omelette here and there but I feel I can improve upon my omelette game. It can step up a little bit. But I’m definitely a breakfast guy.”
He correctly picked the Super Bowl winner over the weekend.
“Patrick Mahomes just definitely never fails to make a play,” he said. “Especially in the big moments. I feel like he is going to show up.”
He shared the biggest reasons why Georgia is certainly in the mix for his estimated July decision.
“They are close to home,” he said. “They are competing for a national title. I am comfortable with the staff. I feel like those are the three main things that are keeping Georgia in the game.”
His parents also made the trip. The Bulldog staff is also connecting with them, too.
“I feel like coach [Dell] McGee and coach Smart they are building up a relationship with them, too,” Pryor said. “Which is huge. I feel like this weekend they liked it a lot.”
Pryor noted that he will look at what is the best situation for his entire family.
While it may sound like his decision will only get harder and harder, he knows what will matter the most. That’s a byproduct of taking an aggressive approach to his process. He stated vetting these schools well over a year ago. He was also in Athens for the Notre Dame game last season.
“It does get harder but at the same time it doesn’t,” he said “Because my family members and I will all get the feeling you know?”
Pryor described that as certain “dealmaker” criteria.
“It will just be a thing where we get back from home from a visit or whatever where we just all know and feel very confident about the decision and feel like we all know what is the best decision for me,” he said. “It will definitely be something we sit down and talk about but it will be whenever we get that whole same feeling as a family.”
He plans to enroll early in January of 2021. Look for him to take all five of his officials in the spring prior to that summer 2020 decision.
According to his player profile at MaxPreps.com, he racked up 1,130 rushing yards on 164 carries as a junior for Hough. Those attempts were good for an average of 6.9 yards per carry and 11 scores. Those totals are beefed up by a long run of 84 yards.
Those totals mesh well with his aforementioned work as a receiver in the passing game. Check out his junior film below.