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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Mike Evans after Aggieland


Mike Evans had 151 receptions, 2,499 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns during his two seasons at A&M.

With tears in his eyes, Mike Evans walked on stage where NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell greeted him with a jersey and a handshake after being selected as the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. 

Just three months later, he set foot on a professional field for the first time and his pro dreams became reality. As Evans recalls, it was still not his most powerful moment as a football player. 

“To be honest, it didn’t feel like it did when I was on Kyle Field,” Evans said. “My first time stepping on Kyle Field didn’t feel like that. It’s [because] I was used to all the fans being in the stands, but of course it was a dream come true, and it felt great. I’m blessed to be in this position.” 

Evans finished his first season in Tampa Bay with 68 receptions for 1,051 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was just short of being named NFL rookie of the year. Finding the end zone 12 times during his rookie season helped him earn the Tampa Bay Buccaneers single-season receiving touchdown record, and he became the youngest player in NFL history to gain more than 200 receiving yards in a game. Even with his quick rise to stardom, Evans remains eager to improve. 

“I did alright. I don’t think I did that great,” Evans said. “I could’ve done better, but I just got drafted into the right situation. A lot of veteran guys on this team helped me along the way. I just play ball, and am doing what I love, which is playing football. I’m just going hard, playing fast and making plays when they throw my way.”

After redshirting in the 2011 season, he and future-Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel formed a legendary connection for two years at A&M. Evans finished his college career with 151 receptions, 2,499 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns over a span of only two seasons. In 2013, he broke the then-A&M season receiving touchdown record with 12 and led the SEC in receiving. Now, after playing with one Heisman winner, he is teamed up with another in Jameis Winston, the 2013 winner. 

“It’s definitely nice having guys with that much talent throwing you the ball,” Evans said. “They’re both very hard workers so you can’t ask for anything better.”

Former teammate and current A&M kicker Taylor Bertolet shared a locker space with Evans. He said he liked seeing his friend achieve his goal.

“When I saw him get drafted, that was a real touching experience,” Bertolet said. “I think a lot of people on our team were so excited to see him go off in the NFL and see him do as well he’s doing. I mean, there’s no person that deserves it more than somebody like Mike Evans.”

Now in Tampa, Evans shares space with veteran NFL receiver Vincent Jackson, who complements to Evans on the offense. The three-time pro bowler has provided the young Evans with plenty of helpful advice and has been a cornerstone in his success.

“He helps me all the time,” Evans said. “Our lockers are right next to each other. He’s always telling me before a play what coverage or where to lineup. Even if I already know, he’ll still reassure me to make sure I know. So he’s been great so far for me, and he’s been a big part of my success.”

The Aggies’ senior running back Tra Carson was teammates with Evans for two years. He said he and Evans are still good friends and enjoy playing and talking about basketball. 

“We joked around a lot,” Carson said. “My favorite memory is definitely playing basketball in the ring just to see his competitive nature. It’s hilarious to me, and he’s really good.” 

Carson said he draws inspiration from Evan’s success.

“It’s very cool — and it’s motivating too — to see someone that shared the locker room with you and the success he’s had,” Evans said. “[It] makes you think, ‘Hey maybe I can do it.’”

Aggie tight end Caden Smith connected with Evans since both were becoming students at the same time. As teammates, Smith says the two shared some fun times together.

“He’s a really good guy,” Smith said. “I used to give him rides home sometimes, and I remember he really liked my John Mayer CD. There’s a song called ‘Free Falling’ on it, and we used to sing that together in the car sometimes. It was really fun.”

The wide receiver attributes much of his success to the A&M football program. He looks to continue this success with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL and eventually, achieve his ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl.

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