Victor Evans

DE Victor Evans is looking for more playing time and more input

Ole Miss sophomore Victor Evans has gone from a skinny, wide-eyed freshman over two years ago to a confident 245-pounder who looks the part of an SEC defensive end.

When Evans reported to Ole Miss his true freshman year, he had been running track that spring and was down to 205 pounds.

Obviously, while he showed speed and flashes of being able to get the edge on Rebel backup offensive linemen, he was frequently manhandled.

Flash forward a little over two years and standing before you is the "new" Victor Evans, all chiseled 245 pounds of him.

Consequently, after spot duty in 2015, Evans is looking for, expecting frankly, a bigger role in 2016.

"I am bigger, stronger and faster now and I know the playbook inside and out," he explained. "I feel good about where my game is and how far I have come, so I just have to keep working and take advantage of the hard work I have put in for a bigger role this year. My speed is still good and I have learned my techniques. In high school, you don't need technique, but in college, everyone you face is just as good as you are and the only thing that separates you is good technique. That is where your edge is. "

Evans said his influences have been teammates on the defensive line.

"Marquis (Haynes) and Fadol (Brown) have been very good mentors to me," he continued. "All my friends on the team make sure I know my plays and motivate me to get better. I look at guys like (DT) Breeland Speaks and how he never takes a play off and that's how I try to play. People think we are going to miss something for not having Robert (Nkemdiche) in the lineup, but we won't with Breeland taking his place. That's how I want people to think of me when Marquis graduates."

Evans had 16 tackles - 2 for loss - in limited playing time a year ago, but now he is firmly entrenched as Haynes' backup and is anticipating more.

"The game has slowed down so much for me and I have helped myself physically. I feel good about where I am with my football IQ and with where I am physically," he stated. "That should equate to more opportunities. More opportunities should mean more production if I do my job correctly."

Evans and Haynes compete hard on  daily basis, which makes both better, said Victor.

"He's so talented, but I'm talented too and we like to compete to see who will get to the quarterback first and who will make the most plays," Victor noted. "We respect each other and we know competing with each other improves us both and keeps both of us sharp. We don't think we can be stopped."

Behind Haynes and Evans is freshman Charles Wiley, who is currently suspended from game competition but is practicing.

"He's going through now what I went through two years ago - learning the playbook," Evans added. "He's a great talent and he's so much bigger than I was. He's 260 pounds now. When he gets his football IQ right, he will be a great player, I believe."

In the meantime, though, Evans wants to start making more of a mark.

"I know Marquis is the man this year, but there's room for me to keep improving, make more plays and get a bigger role," he closed. "I just have to keep working."

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