Monday, August 25, 2008

Evans remains gracious despite 'Russellmania'

Following last week’s quarterback announcement at N.C. State, it would be foolish to ignore the plight of last season’s starter, senior Daniel Evans.

Amid the excitement over new redshirt freshman starter Russell Wilson (call it “Russellmania”), Evans has been gracious and accepting of his new role almost beyond belief.

“I’m still living a dream,” he said. “Playing football at N.C. State is something I’ve always dreamed of.”

Evans still is expected to play some during the first half in Thursday’s opener at South Carolina to give Wilson a break. But losing the starting job couldn’t have been easy to accept. Evans has started 17 games over the past two seasons. Though N.C. State was 6-11 in those games, Evans quarterbacked during a four-game winning streak that got the Wolfpack into bowl contention in 2007.

During the offseason, he rehabilitated his throwing arm after having shoulder surgery. His father, former N.C. State All-American Johnny Evans, said he saw Daniel undergo a lot of emotional growth and develop more mental toughness during that process.

“He’s never had to deal with an injury before,” Johnny said last week. “He’s worked hard with that injury thing. There’s always uncertainties with an injury like that, especially when you’re a right-armed quarterback and it’s your right shoulder.”

Evans had mixed results as N.C. State’s starter. He led the team to an incredible comeback win against Boston College and a nationally televised defeat of Florida State, then lost nine starts in a row.

He has thrown more interceptions (24) than touchdown passes (17). But you couldn’t fault his effort, attitude or love for N.C. State.

The Wolfpack is fortunate to have him, whether he’s on the sideline or under center.

– Ken Tysiac