"Last year was tough for me.," said Evans without hesitation, "I went from starting to get a lot of playing time the year before to getting virtually none until the last game of the season. It was really hard for me to keep my head in it, but I'm glad I did, it got me where we are today."
Where he is today wouldn't have happened without an offseason of hard work that won him the Hard Hat Award for his performance in the team's off-season strength and conditioning program. That work ethic also helped me with his position change. Evans, much to his delight, was moved from defensive end to tight end.
"It has been great, especially now since I am seeing more playing time, I couldn't be happier with the move," he said.
Ironically Evans' first extensive playing time in nearly two years came on the same field that his father, Ken Evans, played on.
"I thought I did good with the opportunity I got a hold of," stated an elated Evans, "I was psyched to get in the game and play in the stadium where my dad used to play and actually get my first game with substantial playing time, and I was really excited."
"Words can't describe how good it feels to actually get on the field. Being my last year here, every day is the last day I want to overcome and you can never get it back, I'm taking one day at a time."
Evans', known as a physical run blocking tight end, helped the Devils have their best rushing performance of the season last weekend. ASU's running backs averaged 4.1 yards per carry, an improvement from previous games this season.
"We are making strides to be where we need to be in our rushing performance," said Evans, "We showed glimpses of what we can be."
Despite showing some signs of an effective run game, the Devils' offense still struggled mightily against USC. Evans said it's just a matter of finding the minor problems and getting them fixed in practice.
"I don't think it is just one thing or one area of the team, but our offense needs to come together and make some more things happen," explained Evans.
The tight end knows that the bye week is a perfect time for that. He feels that the team has to right the course.
"We have to get back to fundamentals because when you are playing games you drift away from your basics, we need to get back to that," stated Evans. "Then obviously, we fix the problems we've had on offense and try to make it happen."
Being a senior, Evans knows that it his role to keep the younger players heads in the right place even after facing some adversity. Evans embraces the challenge of being a senior leader.
"I don't know if it is difficulty as much as it is a challenge," commented Evans. "Our seniors need to face a challenge, show some leadership and let the younger players know that you can't slack off in practice and everyday counts."
Evans said it won't be difficult for him to keep his head up, but with the Devils' traveling party nearly 40% freshman, it could be hard for the young players to deal with losing.
"I don't think it has been too hard for me to keep my head up being my last year," said the senior. "Keeping other guys' heads up is going to be a struggle that we are going to have to fight to keep our team in this."
Evans isn't going to let his last season get away from him and he knows ASU still has a lot to play for, but they can't look ahead. If they take the one game at a time approach, good things will happen.
"We know our season is not over and we can still finish with eight wins and make it to a bowl game," he stated. "We aren't even looking at the end yet, we have to look at it one game at a time. We need a win and need one bad."