The 2022 iteration of the Northwestern Wildcats’ football team may have been a disappointment for the most part with their 1-11 record, but running back Evan Hull was one of their brightest stars last season. In attending this year’s Senior Bowl, the former Wildcat was able to prove that the versatile skill set that he had shown off over his last two years in Evanston was legit.
Over his first couple of seasons at Northwestern, Hull’s production was modest in his role as a backup. However, he shined as a starter in 2021 and 2022. As a redshirt sophomore, he put together a 1,000-yard rushing season that also featured more than 260 receiving yards, nine total touchdowns, and an average of more than 100 scrimmage yards per game. This past year, Northwestern allowed Hull to maximize his production by featuring his skills as a pass-catcher more often. As a result, the running back not only led the Wildcats with his 913 rushing yards and seven total touchdowns but also finished second on the team in receptions (55) and receiving yards (546).
Speaking with Hull in Mobile, he said that getting featured more as a pass-catcher was a very intentional decision by Northwestern offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian. Bajakian and Hull both knew that his route-running ability and good hands out of the backfield were untapped pieces of the running back’s full potential after he showed promise in those areas in 2021. In 2022, getting Hull more involved as a receiver became one of their primary goals. According to Hull, by the time the regular season rolled around, the running back’s consistency as a pass-catcher made him his quarterback’s primary read on many of Northwestern’s passing plays.
At Senior Bowl practices all week, the Northwestern product showed off his dual-threat abilities against some of the best defenders in his draft class. Hull spent all week stringing together explosive runs in team drills along with some strong reps in one-on-ones against linebackers in both pass-catching and pass-protection drills.
Strong run by Northwestern’s Evan Hull at #SeniorBowl practice: pic.twitter.com/kkDWwBZaDh
— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) January 31, 2023
Northwestern RB Evan Hull with some good recovery in this one-on-one pass protection drill vs Indiana LB Cam Jones @seniorbowl pic.twitter.com/g3tfLuECyt
— Matt Anderson (@MattAnderson_8) February 1, 2023
When game time rolled around on Saturday, Hull led all players in the exhibition with 74 rushing yards on just 10 carries—including a 24-yard run on the first play of the game—and added two catches for 11 yards.
Northwestern’s Evan Hull takes it 24 yards on the first play of the Senior Bowl 👀pic.twitter.com/iIpwbeYBrA
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) February 4, 2023
For teams looking to take a running back that can contribute as an explosive runner with good field vision and a strong pass-catcher with good hands and route-running ability, Evan Hull could be their guy. Taking into account his solid work in pass protection and special teams contributions in Mobile as well, the Northwestern product did a nice job raising his draft stock at this year’s Senior Bowl.
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