Evan Hull is one of this class’s most productive running backs in the passing game. Also, throughout his film, he shows soft hands, elite lateral agility, and a compact running style that causes many broken tackles. Despite this, you likely haven’t heard him brought up with the litany of other talents in this class. Why is that? Stick with me as we tackle his résumé.
- College: Northwestern
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 209 lbs.
- Age: 22 yrs. (October 26, 2000)
- Year: RS – Junior
- Hand Size 9.25″
- Arm Length 30.625″
- Vertical Jump – 37″
- Broad Jump – 10’3″
- 40-Yard Dash – 4.47
- Draft Projection: Day Three – Fourth to Sixth Round
Hull, a product of the 2019 recruiting class out of Osseo, Minnesota, was a three-star player coming out of high school. Due to his status as an honor student, he had many offers from Ivy League schools. However, his only power-five offers came from Kansas State and Northwestern.
He attended a camp for the Wildcats in the summer of 2018, where he fell in love with the program. In this case, the feeling was not mutual, as he was not their first or second choice in the recruiting cycle. Finally, his offer to Northwestern came on the 18th of January in 2019. Of course, he accepted the following day. You can find his stats from his collegiate career below.
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Additionally, Hull attended the 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Not only did he continue to present outstanding lateral agility against premiere competition, but he also turned heads as a pass blocker. On top of a stellar week of practice, he started the game that Saturday with a 24-yard run.
Natural Pass Catching
As you can tell by his statistics from his final two years as a Wildcat, Hull was heavily used as a receiver. While most of his 88 catches from this span came in the form of screen passes or dump-offs, he was also used confidently from the slot.
To further my point, on tape, Hull rarely drops his attention from the ball before he secures it in his hands. And while he may be focusing on the ball, he also knows where he is on the field in relation to defenders rearing to take him down. Below you can find a clip of one such play where Hull makes a fool out of one of the top defensive prospects in this class, Jack Campbell.
Next, we shall discuss how his compact build makes him effective with the ball in his hands.
Hull may not be the biggest running back you’ve ever seen, but he has adequate size at a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30. Furthermore, Hull is built in the way I like to see running backs built. That is, with most of his power and muscle mass in his lower half. Combine his strength with his high motor and stubbornness to go down; you have yourself one tough runner.
Finally, we come to what I note as his best trait as a ball carrier, his shiftiness.
Hull uses his jump cut move often on tape, often to great success, earning extra yards to keep the chains moving. Another common occurrence throughout his tape is having to make an oncoming defender behind the line of scrimmage. This is partly due to some of the more disciplined run defenses in college football but also partly due to an offensive line that Northwestern’s own reporting graded out as a C+.
In what can only be described as teleportation, the clip below shows an instance of his linemen letting him down. Despite this, Hull still bailed them out for a chunk of play, making three defenders miss.
Taking Wide Angles
As previously mentioned, he likes to run laterally, which often brings him success. However, Hull tends to move more east-to-west when navigating blocks than north/south. This leaves more to be desired on the tape as he wastes precious time and forgoes potential yards. More to my dismay, it can lead him to easy stops for the defense. As shown here.
Instead of going downhill after evading #43, Hull takes an angle much wider than needed. This led him into the arms of an awaiting defender (#1) to take him down.
While he may be able to use a jump cut to move two yards to the left or right, Hull cannot shift his hips quickly enough to shift his momentum. When changing his direction, the movement resembles a player 20 pounds heavier. At times, he must come to a near stop before turning his body in a different direction. This can be seen in the clip against Nebraska, highlighting his lateral agility.
The flaw shows up the most when Hull breaks through the front seven into the second level. It is due to his highest gear is not fast enough to blaze past defensive backs. Combine that with his slow momentum shift, which will lead to very frustrated fans and teams alike.
Hull has an NFL skillset with bellcow upside. He must refine his running style to truly ascend to the next level from anything more than a role-player. He will immediately provide a change of pace skillset for an NFL team with the flexibility to be used as a receiving threat. My low-end comparison for him would be Eno Benjamin. Meanwhile, on the high end, I believe Hull can get to the level of Aaron Jones if things turn out in his favor.
I can see him impact fantasy football in year one like Rachaad White did with the Buccaneers. That is, as a PPR back with the upside to fill in as a handcuff. An ideal spot for Hull would be behind one of the many aging running backs throughout the league. Examples include the Cardinals behind James Conner or the Browns behind Nick Chubb. I recommend targeting this runner in your rookie drafts’ mid to late third round.
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