According to the Washington Post, Virginia Tech running backs Ryan Williams and Darren Evans have filed their paperwork to be evaluated by the NFL.
Hokies running backs coach Bily Hite said “just my gut feeling, I don’t think both of them will come back.”
Williams, a redshirt sophomore, entered the season with a much higher NFL evaluation than Evans. He had a breakout freshman season in 2009 stepping in for the injured Evans. However, he failed to build upon his success in 2010. He missed three games with a hamstring injury and was mostly ineffective even when healthy. Most notably, he was held to just 40 yards on 20 carries against Boise State in the season opener.
Darren Evans, on the other hand, bounced back after sitting out the 2009 season with a torn ACL. His size (6’0″, 220 lbs) and explosiveness makes him an intriguing prospect. He gradually improved through out season, and finished the year with an average of 5.9 yards per carry.
If I had to guess, I would say Evans will enter the draft while Williams will return to school. The 2010 season really couldn’t have gone worse for Williams, while it couldn’t have gone much better for Evans. If Evans returned to school, he would run the risk of losing carries to Williams and seeing his stock fall.
Williams, however, has two more years of eligibility remaining. Even if he struggles again in 2011, he could return for 2012.
If Evans enters the draft, I would expect him to come off the board in the 3rd or 4th round – with his medical examination playing a key role in his stock. Williams would probably fall into the same range, but has a chance to raise his stock much higher if he returns to school.