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Caleb Evans is just ready to hit somebody – and he’ll get that chance soon enough.
Former San Marcos (CA) Palomar Community College standout Evans (6-4, 248) became the 33rd and final University of Arkansas football signee of the 2009 class when he inked his letter-of-intent on Monday morning.
Now he can point to the opening of Razorback practice on Thursday – sort of.
“I am so happy to be here, but it’s been a long day with a tests, a physical, orientation and a lot of other things that get me all ready for school,” Evans said Monday night from Fayetteville. “We got going at 8 o’clock, but it’s just another step to get me where I want to be.”
That is on a football field with an Arkansas jersey on – something that he gets to do after finishing up some classes at Arkansas Baptist in Little Rock this summer.
Both he and UA defensive back signee Rudell Crim finished up their work there this summer while also getting in their workouts at the Arkansas Performance Center.
“We worked out at the Arkansas Performance Center and it was really a legit place,” Evans said. “We both think we are in excellent shape and condition.
“They have these intense treadmills, a full workout indoor center and just everything you need to get your body ready to go,” Evans added. “It was awesome.”
Evans – who will have three years to play for the Razorbacks - noticed a very well known former Razorback tailback and current NFL player there recently.
“Darren McFadden was working out there the last few weeks before he headed off to camp with the Raiders,” Evans said. “All I know is if it is good enough for somebody like him, it is certainly good enough for me.
“I really feel like I am in great shape after being there,” Evans said. “I feel stronger and quicker. Now it is just a matter of getting into practice and getting a feel for the speed of the game and learning my playbook and being ready to help right away.”
That’s something that the Arkansas coaches are planning on him doing as he starts practice as the back-up to starter Adrian Davis.
“They have told me to be ready to come in and make an impact right away, especially as a speed rusher,” Evans said. “I will start out behind AD, but they are expecting me to come ready to make plays and be in the rotation right away.”
Evans missed last season at Palomar because of injury after a sensational freshmen season that saw him get offers from Oklahoma, Tennessee and others.
“I am fully healthy now,” Evans said. “I feel great. The fact that I didn’t get to play last season has just made me that more hungry to play this season.”
The fact that he is playing in 2009 – instead of 2010 as expected – is due to the UA figuring out he could be eligible with just a few more classes.
“I really appreciate how interested they were in getting me here and how smart they were in knowing how to make it happen,” Evans said. “I could have waited until 2010, but this is as great a situation as I guy could want. I want to go out and reward them for their faith in me.”
He expects fellow juco standout Crim (6-1, 180) to be a major impact player as well during the 2009 campaign.
“I think he is going to be a number one type safety or cornerback in the SEC,” Evans said. “He is big, strong and very quick and ready to play right away. He has become a great friend to me and is like family now.”
Arkansas was able to sign Evans because there are six original signees who will not be here for the start of practice on Thursday.
They are defensive end Rickey Hughey, defensive tackles Robert Thomas, Kevin Lowery and John Henderson, offensive lineman Shauntez Bruce and linebacker Turell Williams.
Hughey, Lowery, Bruce and Williams are all headed the junior college route, Henderson will end up at Southern Miss and Thomas has yet to achieve his academic clearance and sources indicate he is headed to juco as well.
The Razorbacks had 27 scholarships available – 2 that counted back to 2008 and 25 for the 2009 class.
“I know there are guys who have been up here getting it done this summer and I hear they have been in so much hard work,” Evans said. “It’s going to pay off for us this season.”