Evans Is Getting Back In The Swing Of Things

SAN ANTONIO – Tuesday afternoon at the West Team's second practice, Shaquelle Evans stood at the 50-yard line of the Blossom Athletic Center practice field, hands on his hips, pain on his face.

Two-a-day practices had gotten to Shaquelle Evans, who also showed up to the U.S. Army All-American game festivities this week still recovering from a muscle strain in one of his legs.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound receiver and Notre Dame commit from Inglewood, Calif., wasn't the only one a little sluggish, as the West coaches had problems getting their team from point A to point B at their second practice of the day.

"I'm just real sore," Evans stated. "This is our fourth practice since we've been here. I haven't done two-a-days since August. My body just has to get back used to it. That's all it is."

The four-star Evans refused to use the strained muscle injury he suffered in the Hawaiian/Polynesian-Mainland All-Star game in Honolulu a couple weeks ago as an excuse, even though he tried to run a route late in practice, and gingerly came back to the line of scrimmage.

"Just a little bit, but mostly, it's just soreness from the four practices. It‘s not enough to keep me from running full speed or anything."

Despite the fact that Evans didn't look like he was having much fun at this particular practice, he is having a great time in San Antonio.

"Yeah it's cool," Evans said. "I liked it last year. It's a nice city, and to be back out here is a lot of fun, just being out here with different guys and stuff."

Last year at this time, Evans participated in the U.S. Army National Combine, a showcase for some of the nation's top juniors. After holding his own, Evans left for home with the notion that maybe the Army game could cap his prep career.

"I watched it a few times," Evans said of the game. "It was never a goal. I didn't ever think I'd become that good. Last year it became a goal for me when I came out here for the combine. I was thinking I'm going to try my hardest and come back here and play in this game this year."

Here, Evans is competing in practice against fellow West receivers like Rueben Randle, Bryce McNeal and Randall Carroll, and has made his fair share of plays over two days of work.

"I think I stacked up well," Evans said. "Overall, we're all different in our own way. Some guys are fast, some guys are possession, some guys are both.

"For me, it's just speed, and just competing for the ball wherever it's thrown at, and good route running."

Once he gets back into the swing of things, Evans plans on being perfectly ready for Saturday afternoon's nationally televised game on NBC. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. (EST).

"I just want to have fun and see how I stack up against the other DBs," Evans said. "See if I can compete with those guys and go against the best of the best, just competing against the best of the best."

Evans said he has also enjoyed spending some time getting to know better the other five Notre Dame verbal commits playing in the game. Five-star running back Cierre Wood and five-star offensive guard Chris Watt are on his team, while four-star defensive tackle Tyler Stockton, four-star linebacker Zeke Motta and three-star tight end Jake Golic will suit up for the east.

"Their solid guys," Evans said. "I'm pretty impressed with those guys."

Hanging out with his future teammates, and knowing that when he goes back home he has just one semester left of high school, has Evans feeling like he is already a part of the Notre Dame program.

"I still have five or six more months before I get out there, but it's getting closer," Evans began. "In no time, I'll be out there, so I kind of feel like I'm on the team already, because time flies, and I'll be out there in a minute."

And Evans will be ready for those Notre Dame two-a-days.

Irish Eyes also caught up with Evans for a video interview involving random questions, and about why he chose Notre Dame over several other scholarship offers including USC, UCLA, Ohio State, California and Colorado.

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