Aggies' top WR Evans pushing for more
April, 11, 2013
By Sam Khan Jr. | ESPN.com
Sam Khan Jr./ESPNAs a redshirt freshman in 2012, Mike Evans led Texas A&M with 82 catches and 1,105 receiving yards.COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The mystery continues.
The way Kevin Sumlin tells it, Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans' jump shot is less than stellar. Last season, as Evans emerged as the Aggies' go-to receiver on offense, Sumlin commented on the former high school basketball star's skills and status as a "tweener."
The message? That, back in basketball-crazed Indiana, where Sumlin spent a large portion of his youth growing up, the words "6-5 tweener" meant you had no jump shot.
What does Evans say? Does he have a jump shot?
"Yes I do," he said.
Will he challenge Sumlin's accusation?
"Oh no, I don't challenge him, because he'll get me in practice," Evans said with a smile.
Regardless, all's well for the redshirt sophomore, whose breakout freshman season came as a surprise to many. The 6-foot-5, 225-pounder was best known as a basketball star during his days at Galveston (Texas) Ball High School, but during his senior season, he elected to play multiple sports, including football. It was his first varsity season of football.
As a junior, Evans -- who played in the post in high school -- was his district's most valuable player and the district defensive player of the year as a senior. But once he put on the football pads, he quickly realized that his future might lay on the gridiron.
"My senior year, I just wanted to have fun and play almost every sport," Evans said. "I ran track, I played basketball and football. I just wanted to have fun. When it came down to it, I started getting offers for football and I thought I had a better future in football."
How fast did the offers come?
"The first day we put on pads, I got an offer from Tulane," Evans said.
Eventually, Evans got an offer from and committed to Texas A&M. The rest is history.
He spent 2011 on the scout team with another member of that recruiting class, Johnny Manziel. The two developed a chemistry on the field and a bond off of it. That played a critical role in Evans becoming the Aggies' leader in receptions (82) and receiving yards (1,105) in 2012.
"We were on scout team together last year and had a lot of fun and we always hang out and we'd go play basketball together and things like that," Evans said. "So we had a good relationship."
This season, Evans' role could be even larger. In the spring, the Aggies have utilized Evans in different roles, even lining him up at inside receiver.
"I'll tell you what he's done is he's learning the offense more, instead of just his position," Sumlin said. "We've moved him around a lot this spring which has had benefits for him, but also has benefited the other receivers by getting them reps at his position trying to develop a backup and trying to develop him in other spaces."
Evans role is also important because he's the only returning starting receiver for A&M this season. And though he was extremely productive a year ago, there is room for improvement.
"He can get a lot better," receivers coach David Beaty said. "There's a lot of things that he has to do -- and we've talked about that -- to round his game out as we move forward. He can become a better route runner. He can become an even better blocker and he is a pretty good blocker, but he can play with a lower pad level. And he's going to have to do those things if he plans on being an All-SEC guy."
And Evans' goals are high this year. He hopes for "something special." What would that be?
"Biletnikoff," Evans said.