- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Florida’s Allstate Sugar Bowl date with Louisville, GatorNation will review the season for a key Gators player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at S Josh Evans.
79 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 3 pass breakups
Role in 2012: Evans started every game in 2012 alongside Matt Elam and ended up leading the team in tackles. He was solid in run support and was better in coverage than he was last season.
The good: Evans was one of the Gators’ most improved players this season. He really blossomed in the second year of coordinator Dan Quinn’s defensive system, especially in terms of communication and understanding coverage responsibilities. Evans’ solid play allowed the Gators to move Elam around and take advantage of his play-making abilities. Had Evans not improved as much as he did, thanks partly to Will Muschamp working with the safeties, the Gators would have had to have been more conservative with Elam.
The bad: Evans’ tackling fundamentals need work. He’s one of those guys who ducks his head and goes low instead of keeping his head up and wrapping up. As a result, he sometimes misses tackles he should make. The best example is getting plowed over by Texas A&M RB Ben Malena. Evans also sometimes takes bad angles to the ball carrier and he doesn’t have the blazing speed needed to make up for that.
Crystal ball: Evans’ final game will come against a Louisville team that likes to throw the ball down the field with QB Teddy Bridgewater. The Cardinals average 298.6 yards per game passing so the UF secondary will be pretty busy. After the Allstate Sugar Bowl, however, is where Evans’ future gets murky. He isn’t going to be a high draft pick, but there is a good chance he will get drafted. That wasn’t something anyone would write after the 2011 season. But can he stick with an NFL team?