Evan Frierson Shows Potential Despite Delay

Only rarely has a football player matriculated to Illinois after being both a sprinter and weightman in high school track. But Washington, D. C. linebacker Evan Frierson is that versatile. If you can combine strength and speed, you have a head start on being a good college football player.

Evan Frierson ran an 11.0 time for the 100 meter dash at H.D. Woodson High School in Washington, D. C. That is as fast as many college running backs. And he's a workout warrior, attesting to his strength. To put it mildly, sports is an important part of his life.

"I do work out a lot," Frierson understates. "I am pretty strong. In high school I played about every sport. In track, I ran the 100, I long jumped, and I threw the discus and shot put."

Evan has continued to add weight and strength to his 6'-0" frame under the tutelage of Strength & Conditioning Coach Lou Hernandez.

"Right now, I'm probably maxing out at about 375 on the bench. I weigh about 230. On my official visit, I was probably around 212 maybe."

Football is extremely important to Frierson. He eats, sleeps and breathes the sport he loves.

"I used to bring sports pages to class. And everytime I get on the computer, I'm checking out the NFL. I'm always thinking about football."

It was thus extremely hard for him to sit out last year as a freshman at Illinois. He was forced to miss all of Camp Rantoul awaiting an eligibility ruling, so he had precious little opportunity to learn the system or compete for playing time.

"No I didn't. I qualified late, so I missed most of the training. I'm catching up on a lot of things. Sometimes it gets complicated out there, but I have to learn how to play. But now Coach (Disch) has me caught up, and I'm trying to make plays."

As a scout team member, Evan had to simulate upcoming opponents, giving him little time to learn the defense.

"On the scout team, Coach Disch told me to just keep it simple. Work on little things like my read steps, push-pull, push reps, just getting off blocks and stuff like that."

Now listed as a second string middle linebacker, Frierson also had to learn a new position from high school.

"I like playing in the middle. I like contact. In high school, I played weakside linebacker. The first five days I played middle in high school, but then I got moved outside."

He feels he has some definite assets for the MIKE position.

"I'm a sideline to sideline backer. I have no problem getting out and running. And also I think I'm best at stopping the run."

He has shown both of those traits this spring. Of course, he also proves at times he has more to learn.

"I want to work on getting off blocks faster, seeing the plays before they happen. Sometimes I'm hesitant hitting the hole. I want to just see it and go."

If Evan Frierson continues to develop, he could see a lot of playing time at Illinois. And not surprisingly, sports will continue to be an important part of his long-term future.

"Right now, I'm majoring in RST (Recreation, Sports, Tourism) with an emphasis on sport management."

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