By firstname.lastname@example.org (Matthew Speakman)
Ever since he flipped his commitment from Auburn to Alabama in the spring of 2014, senior linebacker Rashaan Evans has been on every Alabama fan’s radar. Since then, he’s done his best to fill a role. Whether it was having the game of his life in Alabama’s first matchup with Clemson or filling in for an injured Shaun Dion Hamilton in the latter part of the 2016 season, Evans has been whatever Alabama needs him to be.
Now, The Crimson Tide needs him to step up and be an important player on defense, and he’s ready for that challenge.
“Me being an older guy, I feel like my position is to make everyone else better around me,” Evans said. “Especially with the freshman. Helping them learn the standard that we have around here, the way we practice, how we carry ourselves and the little things like that. I feel like that’s kind of my role now.”
Evans has grown as a leader every year. When he took over for Hamilton in the final two games of last season, he was called upon to help former linebacker Reuben Foster anchor the middle of the defense.
With his last season for Alabama on the horizon, he continues to improve as a leader. He helps make the calls and get everyone in position.
“[Evans] Has really good knowledge and experience now relative to what he’s supposed to do, how he’s supposed to do it making calls,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “I think there’s a lot of guys that look to his leadership to be important in the development of our defense. He’s certainly done a good job of that to this point.”
Last spring, Evans made the switch from outside to inside linebacker. Since then, he has thrived at that position. He gained valuable experience when he started the last two games of the season. Even before that, he filled an important role as an underclassman. He came in on third downs and would wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
With a full season under his belt at inside linebacker, he still continues to work and improve on the inside
“Rashaan has certainly done a really good job for us,” Saban said. “He kind of played defensive end, outside linebacker. That’s kind of what we recruited him as. He’s a really good pass rusher. We converted him to inside backer and he’s made fantastic progress at that.”
Versatility is the main thing Evans brings to the table. Since he made that switch from outside to inside, he has shown he can fly all over the field. Evans gives Alabama’s defense an edge that very few teams have. He can stop the run on the inside then run around offensive tackles to get to the quarterback on third down. His speed gives everyone fits. Just ask his teammate, tight end Miller Forristall.
“You have to keep your head on a swivel,” Forristall said. “He’s fast and he can run. You have to make sure you take good angles here and there to block.”Evans is ready to the alpha dog of Alabama’s defense. He’s ready to change a game with his versatility.”
“Being able to come from inside to outside and kind of help the pass rushers out as much as I can and get some pressure on the quarterback,” Evans said. “I think that’s the No. 1 thing. If you can do those things like that you can pretty much stop some pretty good offenses.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports