Here are insights Evans shared about his life, his football career and his future:
Question: What was your life like growing up and what role, if any, did sports play in your life?
Evans: “When I was a young kid, my mother got me into flag football. Growing up in the neighborhood I did in Compton, Calif., it was a tough neighborhood. She always tried to get me involved in sports to keep me away from all the trouble and all the wrong stuff going on and try to keep me around positive friends and people she knew from church more than people staying in my apartment complex.
“I always looked up to my cousin, Hershel Dennis. He played running back at USC and was magnificent football player. I always wanted to get the hype that he got. Everybody always couldn’t wait until my cousin came around and he always was having fun. I used to see him on TV. That is what pulled me into football and had me thinking I could do it.”
Question: Was it easy to listen to your mother at those times?
Evans: “There was so much temptation, so it was hard. If you make the wrong decision, you end up in the wrong place. If you make the right decision, you end up in the right place. But sometimes it is harder to make the right decision and is easier to make the wrong decision. A lot of the times I just listened to my grandfather and buckled down and went to practice.
“One thing that was different about me was that I never played high school football. I fell out of sports and it just wasn’t for me. I lost my grandfather and it was hard for me. He was my father. I am not in good contact with my real father, so it put me through a lot. I was depressed emotionally about right when I started high school. He was my right-hand man. He was my No. 1 fan. He would be at all my flag football games and take me out to eat after all of them. He let me know how proud of me he was all the time.
“Every time I was on the football field, I was trying to please him and my mom. That is who I felt like I was playing for and felt like they were the only two in stands watching me. It was hard on me not having him there. I fell out of football and started hanging around the wrong crowd of people. Football was not in my repertoire any more.
“I think I would have played (in high school) if he had not died. With him being the father-figure in my life and him pushing me, it would have been different. It’s hard for a woman to raise a man, especially a teen-ager growing up in the neighborhood I grew up in. He played a huge role in my life and when he was gone, I didn’t feel like I had anybody that knew where I was coming from. Anybody that has a father and has a good relationship with him would know what I am talking about. I miss him. That is the one of the things that had me away from football, but at the same time that is one of the things that brought me back to football.”
Question: What did you do between high school and when you started playing junior college football?
Evans: “I graduated high school and took a year off. I was just working to help my mom out with the rent and stuff like that. I was working at Albertson’s, a grocery store. It was not glamorous work at $6.25 per hour, California’s minimum wage. I was doing that for a while. Everybody always asked me, ‘You are big. You look like you play football. You don’t play tight end or nothing.’ I was like, ‘No, I don’t need to play.’