It wasn’t surprising to see Rashaan Evans make a game-changing play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic on Saturday afternoon. Alabama coach Woodrow Lowe has been seeing Evans make those types of plays for a while.
The Auburn High star batted an interception to himself for a touchdown and had four tackles for loss in Saturday’s 21-17 win over the Mississippi All-
Stars at Cramton Bowl.
“He’s a game changer,” said Lowe, coach of Auburn High’s rival, Central-Phenix City. “We looked at film on these guys, and we know what they can do. We put him out there to do that.”
Evans lined up on the edge, combining his pass-rushing skills with his defense. Alabama and Georgia are among the schools recruiting Evans for that position, which Alabama calls a jack linebacker, while Auburn is recruiting the hometown talent in a similar position that is more of a hybrid defensive back that can cover or blitz.
“I actually like both (schemes),” Evans said, “just to have the chance to move around on the field. It really doesn’t matter. I like both positions, so regardless of which school I go to, I’ll be happy at whichever position I’m at.”
Evans had a fairly quiet first half, then dominated the third quarter to take home most valuable player honors for the Alabama All-Stars. Two plays into the second half, Evans put the heat on Mississippi quarterback Wyatt Roberts, forcing him to get rid of the ball to avoid a sack, then dropped into short coverage on the next play and intercepted Roberts’ pass, returning it for a touchdown to tie the game at 14-14.
“I tipped it up,” Evans said. “I looked around, and at the last second, I saw the ball and it was in my hands. The next thing I know, I was in the end zone.”
On the next Mississippi possession, he would chase quarterback Thad Miller across the field, dragging him down for a five-yard loss. On the following possession, he tackled Roberts for a loss on a quarterback run, then forced another quick throw from Roberts two plays later.
By the time he was finished, Evans had eight tackles, including four for loss, along with three quarterback pressures and a sack in a position that seemed perfect for his talents.
“I didn’t get the chance to (line up in this position) in high school, and I finally got to do it and I felt comfortable doing it,” he said. “When I did it, I just tried to take every advantage of it. They just tried to get me in a position to make plays.”
Evans is the son of the state’s top running back recruit from the 1981 recruiting class, former Enterprise High star Alan Evans. Evans was considered the best running back in the state, but at Auburn, another 1981 recruit named Bo Jackson quickly grabbed the spotlight.
Saturday’s spotlight, however, belonged to the next generation of stars, where an uncommitted Evans was a hot topic for recruiting website analysts.
“I definitely had a good time playing with these guys,” Evans said. “I was definitely playing against the best athletes in the state of Alabama and Mississippi. I just played my game and did what I could to help my team. I just came into this game to play football and help my team.”