DALLAS -- Three years ago, redshirt freshman wide receiver Mike Evans was focusing on basketball.
He was one of the better players on the court in the Greater Houston area, starring for Galveston (Texas) Ball High and good enough to earn district MVP honors for a state-ranked team. But after spending two seasons away from football (he played as a freshman), he returned to the gridiron as a senior for Ball and quickly found that his future was bright in the sport. He earned a scholarship offer before he even played a varsity down and more followed. Eventually, he chose Texas A&M.
Now Evans is a young player on the rise in the Aggies' new offense, using his 6-foot-5, 218-pound frame to make plays. In Texas A&M's 48-3 win over SMU on Saturday at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Evans became quarterback Johnny Manziel's go-to guy for a half, catching six passes for 123 yards in the first two quarters, including a 38-yard reception.
"He's a great player," senior receiver Ryan Swope said. "I think Mike just has that build for a receiver. He's physical, he's a guy that wants to help this team out and he has that great mentality of going out and getting a block, going up and catching a good pass, and we need those guys getting the ball. He's exciting. I can't wait to see what he does next week and in the weeks to come."
Evans on Saturday showed his speed, hands and physicality, pushing defenders aside to break tackles. It appears that his role in the Aggies' offense will continue to grow.
"He's coming on," coach Kevin Sumlin said. "He's another one of those young guys. He played one year of [varsity] high school football, redshirted last year and you can see his confidence increasing. His confidence level has increased. Mike's got to be that guy. He's a big, strong, fast guy, physical."