MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — All season the UW coaches have said that Lee Evans’ numbers speak for themselves.
Saturday, those numbers told the conference that he’s the best. With 1,545 yards this year, Evans surpassed Ohio State’s David Boston to become the Big Ten record holder for receiving yards in a single season.
“It means a lot,” Evans said of his record. “That’s something to be proud of. That’s not only an attribute to me but to my teammates and everybody that supports me as well. I’m more than proud. I can’t really express it right now, but I’m thrilled that I was able to accomplish that.”
The catch that gave UW’s junior flanker that record came early in the game, with a 10-yard reception in the first quarter. It was one of five catches that Evans had in the first 15 minutes alone, which revealed Wisconsin’s strategy of going to the junior early and often in order to get him his record as soon as possible.
“The coaching staff wanted me to get this record,” admitted Evans, who had nine catches for 151 yards against Minnesota. “That’s something we set out to do.”
While Evans and his coaches wanted to capture this prestigious Big Ten record, this is not the only record the junior took ownership of this season. Evans also holds the record for Wisconsin’s career receiving yardage with 2,255 yards, as well as UW’s record for consecutive 100-yard games, with eight.
With all of these titles currently next to Evans’ name, the inevitable question turns to whether or not the junior will return to Wisconsin for his senior season or if he will instead opt for the NFL.
Following the team’s Nov. 17 loss to Michigan, Evans declared that he will for sure be back next season. A few days later he explained his response, saying that he was acting on emotion, and that with the season still going on he wasn’t going to think about next year yet. However, the junior did say that if he made the decision right then, he would return for another year.
With the season officially over after Saturday’s loss to the Gophers, Evans’ answer was the same.
“Right now I’m looking to come back next year,” Evans said. “But there’s certain things you’ve got to research and look into. Right now my position is I’m coming back, but you know, I haven’t researched it all, and I’ll look into it in the off season and make my decision then.”
Evans will have the help of a few influences on his decision, most notably his parents and former Badger Chris Chambers.
“I’d like to get feedback from a lot of different people, especially the sources I trust,” the junior said. “Chris certainly is one, and if he can help me out, then I will be more than willing to listen.”
But Evans must also consider the input from his parents.
“[My parents] definitely want me to stay in school and get my degree and finish up that way, but you’ve got to do what’s in the best interest for you,” Evans said. “If I’ve got a chance to go really, really high, I mean that’s something I’ll have to look into a lot more deeply.”
And until the junior does perform the necessary research, no one will know what his status is at Wisconsin, not even Evans himself.