This Sentell’s Intel rep has the latest with 4-star cornerback commit Ondre Evans. He ranks as the nation’s No. 14 CB and the No. 142 overall prospect for 2024 on the 247Sports Composite ratings. The On3 Industry Ranking has him as the nation’s No. 17 and No. 130 overall recruit.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Ondre Evans knows where he’s going. He’s known exactly where since early October.

Yet in the first few moments after his Christ Presbyterian Academy team won the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association Division II Class AA state title, he was given a reminder.

Evans is bound to play for Georgia football in the SEC.

His senior teammate, John Wayne Oliver, is a big tackle on his way to play for Ole Miss. Oliver told him that he’d see him next season.

Evans replied he definitely would. That’s because of a relentless effort between this summer and October from Georgia cornerbacks coach Fran Brown. Brown saw how Evans played the game and paired that up with some serious 10.55 speed. Brown had to have him for the Bulldogs.

The fact that Evans was committed to LSU did not deter him. Evans stated very much matter-of-factly that Brown was a big reason he became a Bulldog.

If it wasn’t for Brown, he would not be a commitment on the board for the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class.

Yet Brown is now the head coach at Syracuse. Evans is still a ‘Dawg.

All of those things can still be quite true.

Brown helped Evans fall in love with Georgia but wasn’t the only reason he’ll be moving to Athens on December 20 to participate in bowl practices with the ‘Dawgs.

“That’s where I wanted to be regardless,” Evans said. “I know I had coach [Will] Muschamp and I had coach [Kirby] Smart there. They are still going to be there. They aren’t taking any other jobs or anything like that. I’m happy for Fran to be able to take that head job at [Syracause] and it is a great feeling. It is good. I am still a ‘Dawg.”

Evans was saying “Go ‘Dawgs” a lot on Thursday. He also had a potential future teammate to think about.

McCallie 3-star cornerback Marcellus Barnes was scheduled to face Baylor [with Muschamp’s son at QB] later on Thursday for the state title in another TSSAA classification.

“I do want to see Marcellus play but I am going to be with family and stuff like that,” he said. “But I want him to come to Georgia as well.”

Barnes recently de-committed from Virginia Tech. He is a speedy and skilled defender in his own right.

“I know his game,” Evans said. “He’s a great athlete. I feel like he would fit in at Georgia well.”

The way that Brown recruited Evans stands out here. That’s both for his persistence and his transparency. Joe Stanford, his guardian, told DawgNation Brown had prepared Evans during his recruitment for exactly what took place with the Syracuse job.

He told the family he could eventually bounce to fulfill his dream of becoming a head coach.

“I’ve been involved in athletics and so I know how the world of college athletics works,” Stanford said. “It is hard for kids to fully understand that. I’ve beat into ‘Dre’s head that no matter where you go that coach is not going to be there. You are not going to get that same coach for three, four or five years. Or however long you are at whatever school. The hope is to keep the same head coach but the goal of keeping a position coach is not a reality.”

“You can’t go into this saying I am going to [always] play for coach Fran. If you do, then you are going to be sorely disappointed at some point. So ‘Dre has had that mindset from the get-go and Fran was honest. Fran from the get-go said ‘I want to be a head coach and that’s my goal’ and now Fran did say in Dre’s recruiting that he thought it would take him two or three years before he got on. He said he wanted to go back to the Northeast and even named off the schools where he wanted to go be a head coach.”

Brown told Evans and his family that he felt he was still a few years away. He knew he was young and had never been a coordinator. That would all work against him.

“But he said when that call comes I’m telling you guys on the front end that it is my goal from a career standpoint is to become a head coach,” Stanford said.

That’s pretty much exactly how that all worked out.

“There were no hard feelings or concerns or anything,” Stanford said. “The reason ‘Dre picked Georgia was not for Fran. While yeah I mean we love Fran. He’s great. It is the system that is in place. Georgia’s defense was successful before Fran and should be successful after Fran. It is Kirby Smart’s defense. That was the whole allure of Georgia. You knew what you were getting on that side of the ball as long as Coach Smart was there.”

4-star Georgia cornerback commitment Ondre Evans was part of a Christ Presbyterian Academy state championship win on Thursday, November 30, 2023, at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Evans and his Lions won the TSSAA Division II Class AA state title with their 35-13 win against Boyd-Buchanan. (Jeff Sentell/ DawgNation) (Jeff Sentell/Dawgnation)
4-star Georgia cornerback commitment Ondre Evans was part of a Christ Presybyterian Academy state championship win on Thursday, November 30, 2023, at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Evans and his Lions won the TSSAA Division II Class AA state title with their 35-13 win against Boyd-Buchanan. (Jeff Sentell/ DawgNation) (Jeff Sentell/Dawgnation)

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Ondre Evans is now a state champion at Christ Presbyterian Academy

Evans played both ways for the Lions on Thursday. He was mostly at cornerback but did get in on several series at receiver.

“It was a good feeling winning a state championship,” Evans said. “We’ve been working since June with these guys. Just doing it with them and them helping me out with a state championship.”

He had three tackles, broke up a pass and even a screen pass for a loss of one yard.

It was a comeback for him to get on the field. Evans was cleared this week to return after surgery to repair his lateral meniscus. When the injury occurred, he thought his senior season was over.

Yet his surgeon discovered it wasn’t as bad of a tear as initially feared. The timeline for his recovery allowed him to return for the state championship on Thursday.

“I went and got an MRI and the tear wasn’t as big as they thought and I had a chance to play in three weeks and it was in this game,” he said.

He was cleared earlier this week and looked his old speedy and physical self in practices leading up to the state championship. He said he was “full tilt” and “he felt amazing.”

“It was a blessing to be able to come back from that injury,” Evans said.

Evans said the first thing he wants to work on when he gets to Athens is his technique. He knows he must upgrade in that area to quickly adapt to covering SEC receivers.

What does Evans want to see in who Georgia hires to replace Brown?

“I can say I hope that he’s a great teacher and that he’s going to teach and develop us,” Evans said. “I really want to be developed and that’s my main goal. I know Georgia does that as well, but I want to have a DB coach that has that same mindset that he’s going to develop us and send us to the league.”

Why did he flip from LSU to Georgia in October?

“I can say Fran,” Evans said. “He called. A lot. I was still committed to LSU at first. I was like ‘I’m committed to LSU’ and ‘I’m good’ and all that stuff. Then some things happened. Some uncertainty with LSU’s defense and who’s going to be the coach when I get there. So Fran was going at it 24/7 and trying to get me down there. It kind of wore on me. I went down there and watched a practice. I was loving it. I felt like this was the place I needed to be. It is going to push me and it is going to be very hard and it is going to be good for me in the long run.”

Evans said Brown “did do a lot” in his recruitment. Yet he also got an assurance from the new coach at Syracuse about where he needed to be.

“He still told me even though that he left he said ‘You’re going to be good at Georgia and you need to stay at Georgia’ and that’s what he said and he left it at that.”

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(check on the recent reads on Georgia football recruiting)