Preseason Senior Spotlight: Mike Evans

By Garett Wall for Inside the Huddle

For Louisville safety Mike Evans, the road to his senior season has been filled with twists and turns all along the way. But after a season of impact and success in 2010, he is ready for the road ahead in 2011.

A native of Los Angeles, Evans arrived in Louisville in the summer of 2010. But that arrival was preceded by many challenges, including a long rehab from a torn ACL and previous stops at El Camino Community College and Nevada. After finishing a successful prep career at Compton High School, Evans spent one season (2007) at El Camino, where he played alongside future Louisville tight end Cameron Graham. While there, Evans was selected as the team’s freshman MVP on a squad that went undefeated and won the league championship.

From there, Evans transferred to Nevada, where he recorded 30 tackles and played in 11 games for the Wolf Pack in 2008 before suffering a knee injury. With a long rehab ahead of him, Evans returned home to southern California to focus on getting healthy. With his knee on the mend in the spring of 2010, Evans was encouraged by Graham to move eastward to Louisville later in the summer and join the Cardinals for their resurgence under the guidance of head coach Charlie Strong.

Evans decided that was a transition he needed to make. After moving to Louisville in the summer of 2010, he was able to contribute immediately to the Cardinals, finishing with 20 tackles while playing in 11 games and making three starts in his first season. He closed the season with four tackles in Louisville’s Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl win over Southern Miss and finished with five stops in the road win at Rutgers in the regular-season finale. Evans credits the Louisville coaches for helping him improve as a player during his time as a Cardinal.

“It’s been a great experience playing for coach Strong and coach Bedford,” Evans said. “I’ve never had coaches like them in my life. They force me to play to the best of my ability and when I’m not playing at that level, they get on me.”

With a year of experience in the program and his injuries behind him, Evans is ready to be an even bigger contributor in his senior season.

“This year, I expect to play a similar role to what I did last season, but I do hope to give a little more,” said Evans. “Last year, I was banged up a lot. I gave what I could, but I wasn’t at my best because of the injuries. I’m feeling 100 percent this year, and I know I can bring more to the team.”

As one of Louisville’s safeties, the 5-foot-10, 187-pound Evans knows first-hand what is expected of the Cardinals’ defensive backs. And he likes what he has seen early in preseason camp in 2011 from not only his group, but the entire team.

“Our defensive backs are a good unit and we really bond well together,” said Evans, who will complete his degree in business management in the spring. “The whole defense does a lot of things off the field together and when we’re on the field, I think that shows. We really play as a team. We stay together as a team, offensively and defensively, and I think that’s going to be a big thing for us this year. Everybody has fun and there’s no jealousy. We want to see everyone have success and we want to win games as a team.”

With that approach to the game, Evans and the Cardinals are well positioned to continue finding success on the road ahead no matter what awaits around the next corner.

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