Nobody was surprised to see Baker Mayfield and Samaje Perine represent Oklahoma at Big 12 media days last week.
They seemed like obvious choices, but the defensive selections of Jordan Evans and Ahmad Thomas definitely had some people scratching their heads.
Not that they didn’t deserve or earn the honor, but more like how in the world did these two keep persevering and become the faces of the defense? Even Evans would agree it has been quite a whirlwind journey.
A Class of 2013 recruit, Evans didn’t have an OU offer until Bedlam when Oklahoma State came to town in a thrilling overtime win for the Sooners. He committed a few days later and has just steadily put in the work to be where he’s at now.
A local kid from Norman (Okla.) North, Evans understands his role goes way beyond the field. And he’s comfortable with that.
“OU is a big-time school so it puts me on a platform,” Evans said. “I enjoy a lot of people looking up to me, asking me things on social media about football and people in the community staying in touch. It also kept me close to home so I got to watch my sisters grow up.”
Evans understands there aren’t a lot of premier athletes from Norman. Ryan Broyles immediately comes to mind, and Trae Young is a five-star point guard for the 2017 class so Evans realizes it’s big for him to represent himself, his family and his community.
“I didn’t really reach out to Norman athletes growing up because there weren’t a lot of them,” Evans said. “But now with a lot of people looking up to me and asking me things, I make sure to answer as soon as I can. Their support means a lot.”
Evans is the lone starting linebacker returning for the 2016 season so he knows this year, more than ever, is when he’ll have to lead on the field and in the locker room.