BY JULIA BLAKE
Mitchell Evans finished his senior season as the quarterback for the Wadsworth Grizzlies football team. After receiving 26 offers to play football at the collegiate level, Evans committed to the University of Notre Dame this past summer to play football for their program the next four years.
Rather than joining the Fighting Irish this summer after graduation in May, he has decided to graduate from Wadsworth High School a semester early and head to South Bend, Indiana to begin training with his new team.
When he visited South Bend over the summer, he fell in love with the campus and the football program.
“Their campus was amazing, by far the most beautiful campus that I have ever been to,” Evans explained. “I also didn’t want go to school just for football, I was looking for an elite education and Notre Dame has that.”
After having an official visit with the University of Notre Dame, the decision became clear for Evans; he would join the Fighting Irish football team, sooner rather than later. By February, Evans will be moved into the university, taking college classes, and beginning training with the team for spring games and events. Essentially, Evans will be a full-time college student once the fall semester at Wadsworth concludes.
However, Evans still has to finish his high school courses before he can become a full-time student at Notre Dame. This involves finishing his final two semesters of high school coursework in one semester.
“Before I leave, I have to get a year’s worth of English and honors chemistry done in a semester, and during football season it was hard to get a lot of that done,” Evans said. “On top of that, I have to get my other classes done as well and keep up on those grades too.”
The decision to graduate early was not quick. Mitchell spent a lot of time talking to his parents, teachers and coaches about whether or not the move was the right decision.
“I know for a fact that it will not be an easy transition for me, but I am fully aware of that going in,” said Evans. “It’s going to be an adjustment but it’ll be for the best.”
In order to complete assignments that allows Evans to graduate on time, he has been using the Apex virtual learning system.
Apex is a virtual curriculum system where students can work at their own pace to meet due dates. Evans has been using virtual learning to his advantage in order to finish his work.
“Mr. Bivens has been my point of contact throughout the online learning process,” he said. “It’s been a rough process but I’ve been moving in the right direction and will be done in time.”
Recruiting early is a newer concept but its popularity is increasing as more recruited students sign with colleges. This path has brought success to those who follow through with the process.
“Recruits have been doing this for awhile now and I just feel it’s best for me to enroll early,” said Evans. “It was my idea but they would have been okay with me not enrolling early.”
Wadsworth football head coach Justin Todd knew that Evans would be an exceptional candidate for Division 1 football.
“Between Mitch’s sophomore and junior year we assumed he was a D1 prospect due to his size and athleticism,” Todd said. “As he grew into his body it became very apparent that his tangible measurements would be appealing to coaches at the next level.”
Todd was also confident that Evans’s effort and work ethic throughout his four years in the program would stand out to prospective coaches. The foundation that Evans created in Wadsworth set him up for success at the collegiate level. His hard work has shined through on the field at college combines and scouting events.
“I hope our program provided Mitchell an idea of what type of work ethic, discipline and structure is needed to become successful not only in college but in life afterwards,” Todd said. “The preparation process for this season was skewed due to COVID-19 restrictions, however Mitchell took it upon himself to maintain a healthy work ethic by physically preparing his body for the rigors of a football season.”
Todd mentioned that Evans has the ability to overcome any challenges that are thrown his way and has learned to become a flexible player on the field.
“While dealing with injury most of his junior season, Mitchell was able to put enough elite plays on film to give college recruiters a glimpse of what he can become,” Todd said.
Throughout his high school career, Evans learned how to play the quarterback and tight end position. According to Todd, the duality of positions that Evans has is what made him stand out during his recruiting process.
“The combination of his talent on the field and overall work ethic is something I was able to impart to colleges which reassured them of their decision when a scholarship offer was made,” said Todd.
Notre Dame has officially clenched the #1 seed in the Atlantic Coast conference after beating teams like Clemson University and Boston College. Notre Dame is currently 8-0 and is projected to remain undefeated.
“Being in South Bend the week that Notre Dame defeated Clemson was amazing,” Evans said. “A bunch of us recruits were on campus during the game and got to go to the stadium with the students afterwards. The atmosphere was electric and it just showed that Notre Dame is back!”
Evans may be taking a different path to college, but it is one that will be the most beneficial to both his academic and athletic career.
Below is a list of other Wadsworth student athletes that have already committed to playing at a collegiate level