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Posted at 3:43 PM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Virginia Tech RB Darren Evans declares for the NFL draft

By Mark Giannotto

Virginia Tech running back Darren Evans announced Thursday that he has decided to forgo his final year of eligibility and declare for the 2011 NFL draft. Evans, a redshirt junior, gained 854 yards rushing and scored 11 touchdowns while splitting time with redshirt sophomore Ryan Williams and sophomore David Wilson in the backfield this year.

"It’s been a decision that’s been pretty tough, especially because of the success I feel like I’ve had at Virginia Tech and the opportunity it’s brought me," Evans said. "I feel like after the season I spent there, the years that I spent there, this is a great opportunity for me to take on the challenge of going to the NFL, which has always been a dream for me.”

Evans set a school freshman rushing record during the 2008 season when he gained 1,265 yards. But he missed all of the 2009 campaign after tearing his ACL during preseason practice. The risk of injury affected his decision, Evans said, and he thought coming back to school would be "a gamble."

"Darren is really a quality player and a quality person," Coach Frank Beamer said in a statement. "We've enjoyed having him here at Virginia Tech. He has been very much a part of our success, and we know he is going to have a great pro career."

Evans also is married with a four-year old son and wants the chance to play the role of provider for them. He is just two classes away from graduating and said he plans to take one at a college near his hometown of Indianapolis and another online. He has yet to hire an agent.

After Monday night's Orange Bowl loss to Stanford, Evans revealed that the NFL's draft advisory board told him he would likely be drafted in between the fourth and seventh round if he left school early.

"I'm very happy for Darren and his family," running backs coach Billy Hite said in a statement. "At the same time, I'm very sad because of the kind of player he is and he's an even better person than he is a player. We're really going to miss him in our football program and I obviously want to wish him the best of luck with his future in the NFL."

When asked about the future of Williams, who is also pondering a leap to the NFL, Evans offered no insight. Williams said in a text message Thursday he expects to make an announcement regarding his future on Sunday or Monday.

By Mark Giannotto  | January 6, 2011; 3:43 PM ET
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Solid 4th round. Take the no agent route so if there is a work stoppage you return to Tech for one last 1500 yard year. And go for the 2nd round.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | January 6, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The life of a mid round nfl running back is quite short. Make sure you get your degree when playing days are over. Best Wishes in the draft/career.

Posted by: cr10 | January 6, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

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