Ryan Williams, Darren Evans to be evaluated for NFL draft
Two of Virginia Tech's talented tailbacks, redshirt sophomore Ryan Williams and junior Darren Evans, are in the process of submitting paperwork to an NFL draft advisory board in order to evaluate their potential draft status, running backs coach Billy Hite confirmed on Thursday.
Hite said he met with both on Monday to discuss their future and each decided to explore their draft possibilities. He added that Evans's paperwork has already been sent out, and Williams should have his together shortly.
"Just my gut feeling, I don’t think both of them will come back," Hite said. "But there’s no real rhyme or reason behind it right now."
Hite's advice to both was to stay in school if they weren't expected to be picked in the draft's first three rounds. But Hite concedes that if one of them is likely to be drafted early, "you need to go."
"I don’t think they’ll make a decision until the bowl game is over with," Hite said. "But the money that you make in those first three rounds, if you’re not gonna be drafted there this year, you’ll never make that money up. If you come back another year, your stock goes up, you get drafted there and then you don’t lose that money.”
The decision, though, won't be an easy one for either tailback. Williams, a Manassas native, gained an ACC freshman-record 1,655 yards in 2009 but suffered through an injury-plagued 2010. He missed four games with a slightly torn hamstring and split time with Evans and sophomore David Wilson in the backfield. Williams gained just 473 yards and scored nine touchdowns as a result.
Evans, meanwhile, showed no ill effects from the torn ACL that sidelined him for the entire 2009 season. He gained 817 yards rushing and finished with 11 touchdowns. But Evans also has a wife and child to consider, and according to Hite, is just two classes away from graduating.
"If you’re drafted in one of those late rounds, those guys are still making a helluva lot more money than I’m making," Hite said when discussing Evans.
One advantage both Williams and Evans will have while making their decision is the presence of former Virginia Tech running back Kevin Jones. Jones is back on campus finishing up his degree after he declared for the NFL draft following his junior season in 2003. Hite said a meeting between the three has already been set up.
"Kevin went through some times there being injured but also went through some times with agents that I think these guys need to be educated on," Hite said. "Any questions that they have, Kevin Jones has been through it.”