Former App State standouts Evans and Davis-Gaither impress at the NFL Combine


Courtesy App State Athletics/Tim Cowie

Former App State running back Darrynton Evans ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash (4.41) among RB’s at the NFL Combine.

Cameron Burnett, Visual Managing Editor

From Feb. 26 to March 3, NFL prospects showcased their talents at the NFL Combine. Of the participants, two Mountaineers were given the opportunity to represent themselves as well as App State. 

Running back Darrynton Evans and linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither were invited to workout and accepted the opportunity. 

Evans was able to perform in the on-field drills and showcased his speed, agility, and ball skills that he displayed as a Mountaineer. During his media day, he was asked about playing at App State and how it impacted him as a player.

“It was the best decision I ever made, playing at App. I had great coaches with coach Satterfield, coach Drink, and now coach Clark … They really teach you a lot,” Evans said. “They teach you more than football, they teach you about life. It’s just the culture there is different, a lot of people ask me, ‘How is it at App?’ and it’s kinda hard to explain until you’re actually there. It’s different, but it’s like a good difference.”

Evans went on to impress many NFL scouts, executives and reporters in his workout. He ran a 4.41 40-yard dash, second to only two-time all-American and Doak Walker award winner Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin. This created a lot of buzz around his name and to go along with it, finished with 20 reps in the bench press, showing the combo of speed and power he uses on the field.

“They’re gonna get a competitor for sure, explosive running back who takes care of the ball and a hard worker so I’m ready to go,” Evans said.

Davis-Gaither suffered a partial stress fracture in his foot during the season that forced him to sit out the on-field workouts, but he was able to go through interviews, measurements and the bench press. He completed 21 reps on the bench press, good for fifth out of 15 participants at his position.

“I believe I belong here. I’ve got the confidence to play any level … at App State, playing against the Power Five schools, I had one of those be my best game. I showed that I can compete with those guys, I’m not afraid of them. I believe I belong on the same type of stage,” Davis-Gaither said in a media day interview.

The game he mentioned was against UNC on Sept. 21, where he finished with 10 tackles, an interception and the game-winning field goal block to help lead the Mountaineers to a 34-31 victory over the Tar Heels. 

When he was at App State, Davis-Gaither was listed at 215 lbs. and since the season, has bulked up to his 224 lbs. measurement at the combine. Going to the next level, size and strength are a huge part of competing, and adding this extra muscle can help improve his chances of getting drafted and earning playing time on the team that drafts him. 

After turning heads at the NFL Combine, Evans and Davis-Gaither will have their Pro Day at App State to continue improving their draft stock. The date and time for App State’s pro day has yet to be announced.  

The NFL Draft is April 25-27 in Las Vegas.