LEXINGTON — What has been a frustrating season for Kentucky senior defensive end DeQuin Evans got a little better against Vanderbilt — and earned him his first honor of the season.
Evans, a preseason all-Southeastern Conference selection, was named Southeastern Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week after making three tackles for a loss against Vanderbilt.
He assisted on a tackle for loss at the UK 1-yard line that forced Vanderbilt to settle for a field goal instead of a touchdown. He was part of a quarterback sack in the third quarter that forced a punt and led to UK’s go-ahead touchdown. And he also had a 2-yard tackle for loss that forced another punt.
What made it even better for him was that it was the first game his mother, Penina Maefau, got to see him play in person after he transferred here from a California junior college in 2009.
“DeQuin is finally healthy for the first time this year. He got banged up in spring football and banged up again in fall camp,” Kentucky coach Joker Phillips said. “We have never seen the real DeQuin this season.”
Evans has had ankle, knee and shoulder problems and he also lost 15 pounds when he caught the flu in October. He had 12.5 tackles for loss and six quarterback sacks last season, but had only eight total tackles this year going into the Vanderbilt game.
“I think we saw for the first time a healthy DeQuin Evans. He was active and made a lot of plays behind the line,” Phillips said.
His mother could not have been prouder, either. She was with him on the field for Senior Day ceremonies and was here from Friday until Monday night when she flew back to California.
“I was so excited. If there is a picture of a proud mother, my picture would be right there,” Maefau said Monday. “I was so excited when he got that tackle (for a loss). I jumped out of my seat.”
She said even her co-workers had been excited about her first trip to Lexington to see her son play.
“I would not have missed this for the world,” she said. “All week everybody at work bragged about him. It couldn’t have been more perfect with the weather and the game.
“DeQuin has always been a big-hearted kid. He’s always been a team player. He says I motivate him, but he motivates himself. I was so proud of him.”
Cobb No. 1: Kentucky junior Randall Cobb broke Kentucky’s single-season record for all-purpose yardage Saturday and now has 2,047 rushing, receiving and kick return yards this year. The previous mark was 1,982 yards by Rafael Little in 2005.
Cobb now leads the nation in all-purpose yardage at 186.1 yards per game.
He was named as one of the Most Versatile Performers of the Week by the Louisville Sports Commission for his play against Vandy when he rushed 10 times for a career-high 170 yards and two scores, caught three passes for 56 yards,mhad a 34-yard kickoff return and returned punts for 19 yards. He also completed his only pass attempt for seven yards.