Bloomington – Mitchell Evans is back to doing what he does best.
A hip injury sidelined Evans for the duration of spring ball, but the Hoosier senior has returned to the field for fall camp and is once again at a new position. After spending each of the past two seasons on the offensive side, the 6'3", 200-pounder from West Milton, Ohio, has returned to the defensive backfield where he's expected to start at safety.
All things equal, it's debatable whether Evans is a greater asset on offense or on defense. But what's not in dispute is that the senior needs to be on the field playing somewhere.
After all, that's exactly what Evans does best – playing somewhere – anywhere.
"It starts coming back real quick," Evans said following his first day back on the field for the first time since last year's season finale, "and you start being a football player again."
Playing safety is nothing new for the Hoosier senior. He did it in high school when he was a two-way player at tiny Milton-Union H.S., and he did it again as a true freshman for the Hoosiers when he was one of only two first-year players to see the field in 2007.
Evans played in all 13 games that season, earning a start against Akron and recording a pair of interceptions against Western Michigan during the Hoosiers' Insight Bowl season.
During the past two seasons some quality Hoosier depth at safety prompted the staff to move Evans to offense, where he was the team's fourth-leading receiver (33 catches, 366 yards, 3 TDs) and rusher (33 carries, 131 yards) a season ago. But the graduation of starters Nick Polk and Austin Thomas has left a void at safety this fall, and Evans is once again the perfect fit to fill the void.
While it's been two years since he's called the secondary home, Evans has he doesn't feel like a rookie.
"I'm real comfortable back there," Evans said. "I have kind of an excited/nervous thing going on right now since it's a new position. But I'm a senior, and it's my time to be out there."
Evans would have liked to have been able to spend the past spring practice reacquainting himself with his former position, but he wasn't afforded that luxury thanks to a hip injury that required off-season surgery. But he's back from surgery and glad to be back to 100 percent.
"I knew I wasn't going to be any help if my body wasn't fully recovered, so I tried to get it back to feeling right," Evans said. "I feel good now, and hopefully it stays that way the rest of the season. That's really what I'm focused on."
He's also focused on recapturing the feeling he had the last time he was playing in the secondary back in 2007, when the Hoosiers won seven games and earned their first bowl invitation in 14 years. That was a great introduction to college football for Evans, and now he's hoping to exit IU with the exact same feeling.
"Last season's (close losses) were frustrating, and it stuck with us all off-season," Evans said. "We've been focused on finishing games, and that's what we're going to try to do this year."
Evans Doing What He Does Best
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