18 True Freshmen Steal the Spotlight in Season Opener

On the turf at Michigan Stadium, there were plenty of stars that took advantage of their chance to shine. 17 of them were true freshmen that happened to take place in the first ever Signing of the Stars event on National Signing Day in February.

Amongst all of the stars in the Wolverines’ 63-3 rout of Hawaii was Michael Jordan, whose ‘Jumpman’ logo was worn proudly by Michigan football players on their uniform.

Out of all the freshmen stars, the brightest happened to be the first player to ask Jordan a question Friday night at Schembechler Hall, running back Chris Evans.

“Coach Harbaugh asked if anybody had any questions and I raised my hand,” Evans said.

Was he nervous to talk to Jordan in front of the whole team?

“No, sir.”

“Chris Evans asked the very first question to Michael Jordan and he asked ‘what was it like playing in your first college game?’ He said to trust your training and trust the practice that you had and that will carry for you,” Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said.

Out of all the freshmen, Evans stole the spotlight by rushing for 112 yards on just eight carries and scoring two touchdowns.

“He’s a special player and I expect big things going forward. He can do everything you’d want a back to do,” Harbaugh said.

Evans is the third Michigan running back to gain over 100 yards in their collegiate debut. He joined Walter Cross in 1998 (104 yards) and Chris Perry (103 yards) in 2000.

“It’s big for me, but the team is bigger than (being an) individual,” Evans said.

Harbaugh rarely makes verbally, extreme statements. When talking about Evans, he did just that.

“I knew Chris Evans was special. What you saw today, we’ve been seeing in practice for the last month. He’s a special football player. You didn’t really even get to see everything he can do; he can catch the ball out of the backfield, he can line up at receiver, you’ll see that at times. He’s a very special player,” Harbaugh said.

Evans entered the postgame press room in his usually calm, humble demeanor; just being a true freshman from Indianapolis, Indiana. As it was announced that Evans was going to be available for interview, the press collectively tried to remember the last non-quarterback true freshman brought into the press room in the opening game of a season.

The 17 true freshmen that played was a record for Michigan.

Offensively, true freshmen Kekoa Crawrford, Devin Asiasi, Evans, Eddie McDoom, Kingtson Davis, Michael Onwenu, Ben Bredeson, Sean McKeon and Nate Schoenle all played.

“It’s been coming for weeks now. I realized in the past two weeks that there was seven or eight that earned it, going to be in the two-deep. Less than a week later it was up to 10. I think I told Jim Brandstatter on Monday night that it would be 17-to-20 when it’s all said and done the way it’s going. They’ve earned it,” Harbaugh said.

Defensively, true freshmen Rashan Gary, Khaleke Hudson, Devin Bush, Josh Metellus, David Long, LaVert Hill, Joshua Uche, Michael Dwumfour, Onwenu, and walk-on Carl Myers.

Photo Credit: Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog

Evan Paputa