Laurel's Xavier Evans carries a Pascagoula defender down the sidelines Friday night 'Between the Bricks."

Laurel athlete Xavier Evans has committed to Arkansas State.

“110% committed,” Evans tweeted out on Thursday afternoon.

Arkansas State offered the 5’8, 195-pound Laurel standout back in February. Evans held other offers, including Southeast Missouri, East Mississippi Community College, and Jones County College.

“[Arkansas State] made me feel at home even though I haven’t been able to visit them on campus,” said Evans. “I talk to the coaches there almost every day. They’ve made me feel welcomed.

“I had a couple of college visits scheduled [before COVID-19], and Arkansas State was one of them.”

Evans would become the second Laurel player to join the Red Wolves in six recruiting cycles. Omar Bayless, who recently signed a deal with the Carolina Panthers following the 2020 NFL Draft, was a part of Arkansas State's 2015 recruiting class. During his time there, Bayless broke several program records as a wide receiver.

"I haven't talked to Omar [Bayless] about my decision yet," said Evans. "But I will. This was really about my decision. Coach Desmond Lindsey is who recruited me. He is the running backs coach. Coach Keith Heckendorf, the offensive coordinator, reached out to me as well. And I've talked to Coach Blake Anderson, the head coach. I like Coach Anderson. He's a winner, and I like winning."

Evans mostly played quarterback for the Tornadoes in 2017 and 2018. Last season, as a junior, Evans shared roles at both quarterback and running back.

"The quarterback position helped me become a leader," said Evans, "both vocally and non-vocally. It helped me when I played running back because it taught me how to become a leader in another position.

"One of the reasons I was moved to the running back position was because my coaches knew I was being recruited at that position, and college coaches need film of me. As it turned out, I was good at running back, so I made the permanent switch."

As a junior, Evans passed for 1,562 yards on 124 completions and rushed for 1,503 yards on 169 carries. He finished with 16 passing touchdowns and 15 rushing scores.

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