"That really had nothing to do with my decision," Evans said. "But
I'm not going to lie, I certainly kept a close eye on that throughout the season.
They told me I can come in and be a big asset if I put on some weight
next season. They want me to be a big asset on their team next season and come
in on third downs and get to the quarterback, which is the position I want to
Some players at the tender age of 17 might battle nerves over the pressure of coming
in the SEC, a man's league, and being looked to to fill that void. Not Evans.
"I look forward to the challenge because I had to look forward to the challenge
this year. Yes, it's a bigger setting in the SEC, but I had to have my 'A' game
this season for us and I brought it every night. If I brought my 'B' game I knew
we'd be on the losing end of the stick. That's no fun. I hate losing. My
team hates losing and our fans hate losing. I know Ole Miss hates losing so
that's what I have to do. I have to bring my 'A' game every day at Ole Miss.
I'm going to show the coaches they have nothing to worry about. Getting to
the quarterback isn't going to be a problem next year. I can assure you of
Getting after the quarterback was no problem this season for the 6' 3", 225-pound
defensive end. He finished the season with a 5A-best 16 sacks to go along with 75 tackles,
24 tackles for a loss and 17 quarterback hurries. Evans was named to the AP first team All-State (5A) squad and was the conference and district Defensive MVP.
"This season I knew people didn't know much about me so I wanted to make
All-State, All-District and an All-American. I achieved that. I know I'm a hybrid
defensive end. I'm not the biggest, but I feel I showed what I have."
Dallas Skyline made a run at the state championship in Texas' largest classification
and arguably the toughest district.
"People projected us to not get past the first round because of everybody
we graduated last season but we only lost two games. We had a lot of young guys,
a real young squad. They didn't know about a lot of our players. Only four of
us had BCS offers. In a normal class you have probably have around a dozen guys
off of our squad with BCS offers. It was supposed to be a down year for us. You
just watch some of these freshmen because man they are going to be good. They're going to carry the torch for us and win state which we've never done. We
made it into the quarterfinals and lost on the very last play."
How do you balance the disappointment of coming up short in one's senior season,
but at the same time, knowing the future is bright?
"It's always good to leave a mark on a team. I think I made the players
behind me want to perform on the same level. Coach said I had to fill a void.
I had to step in for Anthony Walker and Isaiah Williams. Anthony went to Oregon
and Isaiah went to Kanss State last year. Now Anthony Wheeler has to fill my shoes.
You just want to leave a legacy and leave your spot. I feel like I did that here.
All that matters is you grind and get to a college and then you can look back
and say things were not all that bad because we made it to college. Yes, losing
in the quarterfinals ripped my guts out, but at the same time, I know I'm doing
the right things to better educate myself."
Evans believes he will bring a lot of attributes to the Rebel defense.
"All players break down film, but with me, it's an understatement. I\m
in the film room like a Petyon Manning. You can't get me out of there. I just
live and breathe football. It's all I want to do. Everything comes to me so naturally.
I understand the game of football. I can see things before it develops. I have
a certain niche for the game. I can get off the ball really well. I have the talent,
but most importantly, I have the mind. I work hard at being a student of the game.
I think that's going to allow me to make the adjustment at Ole Miss quicker than
most. The biggest thing right now is for me to put on some weight."
What are Evans' weight goals by the time he reports to Ole Miss?
"Right now I'm 225. I want to get that to 230 pounds by June 1st. That's what Ole Miss wants. They said they will have me up to 250 pounds in no time,
but they want me to put on good weight. They don't want me to put it on by eating.
They want to put it on me by lifting weights. I bench 320 pounds right now and
squat 400 pounds. I have to get my lower body strength way up. I need to get my
squat up to 500 pounds. I have to get a lot stronger, but I'll do it. I arrive
at Ole Miss in June. I'm just going to grind every day to get as strong as I can
before next fall."
The Rebels shocked the state of Texas when Scout.com's No. 47 rated defensive end
picked Ole Miss over the Longhorns. That doesn't happen every day. How did Coach
Freeze and company pull off the upset?
"My dream is to go pro and feed my family. I felt like Ole Miss was the place
for me to achieve those goals. I know I'm going to get coached up with a great
Christian base. Coach Freeze is really religious and (Chris) Kiffin is too. I'm a very Christian-oriented person and so is my family. Everything just felt
right when I went on my visit. It was more business with the Ole Miss coaches.
They had a plan set out for me. It's family-oriented at Ole Miss. I know at Ole
Miss I'll have the right support group. I know they will help me grow spiritually,
and as a player they will help me become the best player I can possibly be for
the next three to four years."
Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org