Evans Eager for More Exciting, Exotic Defense

Deontay Evans of McComb High School (MS) has played in every game of his college career including making his first career start at safety in the Capital One Orange Bowl last season. Now a junior, Evans is competing for a starting spot in the defensive backfield. No matter who plays the first defensive snap, Evans knows that his number will be called throughout each Bulldog contest this fall.

"Camp is going really good. I am getting adjusted to our new defense," Evans said. "Since the spring, everything is just rolling for us. We're adding new packages and we're all getting everything down. It's going good."

The Bulldogs added two of the Magnolia State's top safety prospects in the 2015 signing class, All-American Jamal Peters and All-Stater Mark McLaurin. Evans reports that the newcomers have adjusted to the Bulldog way fairly quickly.

"I have told them both to take things slow and just go one day at a time," Evans said. "They just need to get the simple things down first. Our defense is sort of complex and there are a lot of little things to learn. I have told them to just be patient with themselves and keep working at it. They're starting to get it all down."

With 26 college games under his belt and 53 career tackles, Evans is transitioning from a reserve to a Bulldog regular. Heading into his junior campaign, Evans knows he is expected to make a contribution to the Bulldog defense.

"I'm an older guy now," Evans said. "I am more mature now, so I try to look at everything like a pro. I know what I am supposed to do and I know what my role is. I am doing all of the things that I need to do, so that whenever I am on the field, I am ready to play.

"I'm expecting to be on the field a lot and making a lot of plays. Coach (Dan) Mullen and Coach Diaz have both told me that they are expecting me to play a lot on defense and that they are depending on me to make a lot of plays this year."

Last season, the Bulldog secondary proved to be a little leaky at times. Evans reports that the Bulldog veterans and coaches have worked together to shore up those short comings this off season.

"We work on our base coverage a lot," Evans explained. "We work on deep 'Cover Two' safeties every day in practice. That's one of Coach Diaz' main focuses. He wants our safeties to be deep no matter what. He wants us to be over the top of everything and play everything from the top down. We have put a lot of emphasis on that and I know we're going to do real good with that this year."

In addition to a new defensive philosophy, the Bulldog defenders are learning a new approach from their defensive play caller, Coach Manny Diaz.

"Coach Diaz is calm. He's like a real pro," Evans said. "He's real detail oriented and he slows everything down for us. He expects a lot from us, but he has taught us a lot. It's going to be a fun season."

Evans' position coach, Tony Hughes, has played a large role in his development as player and as a man. Hughes pursued Evans out of high school as a prospect and has now worked with him for three years to prepare him for regular action in the SEC.

The personable Evans has nothing, but great things to say about Hughes.

"Coach Hughes is like a father figure to me," Evans said. "It's about life with him. He wants the best for us in everything. He really talks a lot about life and about school with us. He wants us to all be successful. He never has anything negative to say. He is always positive, always."

Most who follow the Mississippi State football team expect the offense to be prolific once again. Many project that the Bulldogs will go as far as their defensive efforts carry them. Evans reports that he welcomes that burden.

"We are going to be a lot better defense this year," Evans shared. "A lot of the people who played last year had a lot of talent and they didn't always get to show it. Now they can. We also had some really talented guys redshirt last year. They are now going to get their chance to show what they can do this year. We had a lot of talent on our two deep last year and I believe we have even more this year."

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