Art Evans is ready to make people pay.
The athlete from Victory Christian Academy (formerly Evangelical
Christian) in Lakeland, Fla., committed to play football for Tennessee
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Evans chose UT over Ohio State, Duke, Wake
Forest and West Virginia.
Two schools noticeably missing to Evans on his list of scholarship
offers are Florida and Alabama. Evans said playing at UT will give him
a chance to make the Vols' rivals sorry for passing on him.
"Anybody would be crazy to say they wouldn't want the offer from
those kinds of schools," he said. "I didn't get it so I can't cry about
"I've got a great school in Tennessee. They're rivals with Alabama
and Florida. Now I've got to make them pay for not offering me."
Evans' head coach at Victory Christian, Dedrick Dodge, believes
Evans will do just that. Dodge said Evans, who plays wide receiver and
cornerback in high school, will be a perfect fit at cornerback in
"He's just one of those special kids," Dodge said. "He's going to be
an impact player when he gets in there and once they see him. When they
see him on the field, they'll see he's a special player."
Evans said the Tennessee coaches told him he was the No. 1 player on
their board at defensive back. Evans said he saw that as a chance to
contribute right away.
"(Defensive backs) Coach Larry Slade said it's hard to find a
6-foot-1 corner," Evans said. "They always have problems with that.
They like big corners. He was telling me that's what they're looking
Evans said he felt he could trust UT's coaches, something he
couldn't say for each of the other schools recruiting him.
"You have a lot of coaches telling you what you want to hear," he
said. "(Defensive tackles) Coach Dan Brooks and Coach Slade were just
telling me how they feel about me.
"They watched my film and they just gave me credit where it was due
and said I could just flat-out play. No one else told me that."
Evans said he paid close attention to former UT defensive back Jason
Allen, a first-round pick by the Miami Dolphins in this year's NFL
Evans said Allen's draft position made him feel better about UT's
ability to develop defensive backs.
"A lot of people kept telling me Tennessee is not that rich in
producing cornerbacks into the NFL," Evans said. "To see that guy work
so hard and make it, that's real good. That's a blessing."
Dodge played defensive back at Florida State 1985-90 before moving
on to an NFL career with Seattle, San Francisco, Denver and Seattle. He
won Super Bowl rings with the 49ers and Broncos.
Evans said he takes away as much as he can from the former NFL
"That's like my second dad," Evans said. "He expects the best out of
me. It's a blessing to play for Coach Dodge.
"He knows what he's talking about because he's been at the uppermost
level. Not everybody plays for a coach with two Super Bowl rings."
Evans said he still knows he has something to prove. He said he
appreciates UT giving him the chance to do it.
"Everybody is blessed to have an offer from Tennessee," he said.
"They're one of if not the top football teams in college. Tennessee is
a name I've got to carry. I have to come with my A-game so people can
be like, 'Now I see why they offered.' "