Samson Evans isn't your typical quarterback, but that didn't stop he and his Crystal Lake (IL) Prairie Ridge team from steamrolling everyone in their path en route to a state championship season capped by a thrashing of multiple-time state champion Sacred Heart-Griffin.
Despite a successful season last year, Evans felt that a lot of people still weren't paying much attention to his team and played with a chip on his shoulder all season. Prairie Ridge only became stronger as the season went along.
"Yes I believe some people did sleep on us this year," he said. "We lost a lot of great seniors last season, and coming into this year, a lot of stops where questionable. We knew we would be good, but we didn't know how good until we got into game time situations."
Evans was the key cog in a Prairie Ridge offense that, despite being primarily a ground-and-pound rushing offense, put up a ridiculous amount of points. And unlike traditional quarterbacks, Evans embraced being a battering ram and prepared this offseason accordingly.
"Yes, I am pretty fast," said Evans, who ran a 4.49 at the Illini's Barrington satellite camp this past summer. "One of the biggest things I worked on this year was finishing plays and runs. I worked a lot on being a lot more explosive while running and just being a pain in ass to tackle for defenders to take down. I wanted to punish them instead of the other way around, I wanted to attack them first."
Evans talked about his offseason workout regime and just what his magic formula was for elevating his play.
"A huge thing that helped me do that was spending countless hours in the weight room with Davis speed center working on strength and explosiveness for both upper and lower body," he explained. "Also I would say my throwing. From last year and this year, there is a drastic difference in my arm strength. I didn't throw a lot this year, but my arm was there when we needed it."
Despite being primarily a runner, Evans spent a lot of his offseason working on his passing skills in an effort to become a more well-rounded player. However, he didn't limit showing his abilities at only the quarterback position.
"I just split time in the summer going to camps as a QB learning proper throwing mechanics and footwork," Evans said. "The main thing was just reps. I took countless amount of reps throwing the ball just to improve arm strength and Accuracy. Some camps I would go there as a WR, and others I would go as a QB to give me feel for both positions."
As talented of an offensive weapon as Evans is, he may have equal or greater potential on the defensive side of the ball. At 6'1" and a solid 205 pounds, Evans expects that he might see increased action on the defensive side of the ball for his team as a senior, too.
"I've already talked to my coach about playing more defense next year," he said. "I played a little this year, but with the numbers we had on defense they didn't really need me as much. But I definitely do believe that I will see a lot more defense this year. What Position? I'm not sure."
Being such a talented playmaker, Evans is at his best with the ball in his hands on a majority of plays, which is why quarterback is fitting for him at Prairie Ridge. But he also understands that he may not play quarterback at the next level, but that his versatility allows him to step into other positions well.
"I feel like In college id fit really well at slot because I have good hands," Evans explained, "but also I see myself at safety. I'm good at reading the ball. All of the schools so far have offered me as an athlete. But Northern Illinois offered me as a Quarterback."
Evans already holds a handful of offers, but his two most recent came from the Big Ten in the form of Iowa and Illinois. He was blown away by both when he received them.
"It was unreal," Evans said. "It's such an amazing feeling. To just get those offers, it means the world to me and opens up the door for so many possibilities in the future. It's awesome to be recognized by such big time programs."
Evans visited the Illini earlier this season. One of his teammates at Prairie Ridge, offensive lineman Jeff Jenkins, is also beginning to collect offers and will be one to track moving forward as well.