The Arizona Wildcats struggled to find consistency from their kickers down the tail end of the season, swapping between Josh Pollack, Jake Glatting and Matt Aragon, along with Edgar Gastelum, who is no longer with the program.
The staff is looking to address these issues, sending out an offer to former Baylor kicker Spencer Evans. Evans was a walk-on at Baylor in 2014, serving as the place kicker his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Amid the Baylor football controversy, mixed with some other frustrations, Evans decided to pursue other options, leaving the program.
“It was a combination of a lot of things,” Evans told me about his decision to transfer. “I wasn't getting the opportunities I felt I deserved and I was promised a scholarship on several occasions, but after being a starter for two years [the coaching staff] decided not to come through with that for some reason.”
“I am very confident in my abilities, and I wanted to move on to a new program that has that confidence in me as well.”
Evans then left to focus on his studies at Tarrant County College in the spring and moved to University of Texas at Arlington in the fall. By opting to sit out for the 2016 season, he will be eligible immediately should he choose to enroll at Arizona.
This past fall, Evans nailed an 80-yard field goal while training.
80-yard field goal....with wind. (via @spencer_evans11) pic.twitter.com/8bBDiuC7EU— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 8, 2016
Now, Evans is ranked as the No. 1 kicker in the 2017 class, according to Kornblue Kicking. Dating back to the 2016 recruiting cycle, Arizona was in the mix for five-star kicker Collin Riccitelli, who was waiting for an offer, but he opted to walk-on at Stanford instead.
Josh Pollack, a redshirt sophomore, is already on scholarship, but it looks as if the staff is searching for answers elsewhere, making a strong push for Evans.
“I received a call from Coach (Charlie) Ragle a few days ago and he told me he was looking to bring someone in to handle kickoffs and field goals moving forward,” Evans said.“He had seen my film and we talked for a long time on the phone and really hit it off. He's a great coach and he really knows the fine details of special teams, even down to kicker-specific advantages and disadvantages.”
Things got rolling for Evans at Arizona once he sent over his transcript information to the compliance office for clearance. Once he was cleared, Ragle got him on the phone.
“On Saturday morning I got in touch with him and he said he wanted me to come kick for the Arizona Wildcats on scholarship. It was an amazing feeling to know that he had that much faith in me,” Evans said about his scholarship offer.
The five-star kicker will likely be taking an official visit to Arizona this upcoming weekend, just before the dead period of recruiting begins, where coaches are not allowed to have face-to-face contact with recruits, only written and electronic messages.
“I'll be getting in contact with Coach Ragle within the next couple of days,” Evans said. “He wants to bring me out for a visit this upcoming weekend so we are going to try to get that set up.”
Evans has established his relationship with Ragle and has extremely positive words on Arizona.
“I love the program from what I've seen, amazing fans and great coaches. It's a huge stage and I can't wait to see it up close,” he said.
“Absolutely,” he said when asked if he could see himself kicking at Arizona.
Arizona is going to have to hold off a few schools that have come into the mix as of late for Evans. Although, Evans notes that he really appreciates Arizona being the first Division I program to believe in him.
“Texas, Houston, NC State, Missouri and a handful of other schools are very close to offering, and I've got offers from a handful of 1-AA schools,” Evans said. “It's really been picking up a lot over the last week or so.”
Evans will be a mid-year enrollee, so he will have to act quickly on his college decision. He tells me that he plans to announce within the next couple weeks.
You can watch his highlights from Baylor below.