RECRUITING: Evans shows he belongs with big boys

SAN ANTONIO --- Bryan Evans came to the US Army All-American Bowl looking to show he belonged in the company of the big boys. Three days of practice for the East team have opened the eyes of any doubters there were. The 5-11, 185-pound cornerback from Jacksonville Ed White just keeps getting better with every practice.

While he has shown good instincts for the ball and the ability to stay with any receiver on the East roster in practices, he sees plenty of room for improvement.

"The competition is great," he said. "I thought I could have done better yesterday but feel like I played better today. I think I competed a little better today. I guess I had to get a little flow in my technique because I haven't played in a while."

Although he has kept pace with each of the talented receivers on the East team, there is one who has caused him problems, largely because of his size.

"I'd have to say Patrick Turner [is the toughest to defend]," he said of the 6-4, 215-pounder from Goodpasture Christian in Nashville. "His arms are long and he is strong."

In practice he has been a prominent player on the special teams, too. He lined up with the first unit on kickoff coverage today.

"I never was on kickoff before so I'm not sure why they picked me," he said, "but I'm a bullet and go straight to the ball and get down there quick enough."

With the likes of Demetrice Morl;ey, Kenny Phillips, Justin King, Victor Harris Jr. and Demario ONeal among the East defensive backs, Evans has more than held his own. At this point in the week, he's looking more and more like a starter but with all the talent on the team, he knows the minutes will be shared.

"You can't really make a starting lineup on our side," he said. "There are too many good ones."

The East features a hard hitting corps of linebackers that Evans sees as the heart of the defensive unit.

"The hardest hitters are Brian Cushing and Rico McCoy," he said.

How does the overall talent here compare to that of which he was playing against back home in Florida? "It's not too bad, I thought it was going to be harder for me," he said. "I think the state of Florida is just as fast athlete wise."

The two teams practice on different sides of San Antonio but they stay at the same hotel. That's opened the door for a little smack talk that has been fairly good natured.

"Every once in a while there will be some talk off the field," Evans said, noting that the biggest trash talker is "definitely Martellus (Bennett)," the tight end from Houston Alief Taylor.

Evans said that Bennett's best line of the week was when "he said ‘have you ever seen the movie "Friday Night Lights" where the guys were crying'? He said ‘that is how our team is going to be.' "

Evans is one of three Florida defensive backs on the East team. He and the other DB's have formed a tightly knit group that can always be found together.

"I'm rooming with Kenny Phillips (Miami Carol City) and the DB's usually hang out with each other and not really do too much," he said.

The Florida Gators consider Bryan Evans a necessary piece of their recruiting puzzle and they continue to go after him hard. If he comes through with a standout performance this Saturday at the US Army All-American Bowl, he would be one of the real jewels of the Florida recruiting class.

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is played in San Antonio, Texas at the Alamodome on Jan. 15, 2005, and broadcast nationally on NBC at 1 p.m. EST. is a sponsor, the official selection partner and exclusive on-line partner of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, as well as the associated U.S. Army Combine for underclassmen.

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