Art Evans on return to Vols: 'It's a blessing'

Art Evans says his return to the Vols "a blessing"

About 85 youngsters from the Boys and Girls Clubs were thrilled to be running around in the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex on Monday.

So was Art Evans.

"It's a blessing,'' Tennessee's junior cornerback said Monday in his first interview since being reinstated to the football team.

"For everything to be taken away from you, just like that, it's kind of emotional. ... Never take anything for granted.''

Evans started six of seven games last fall before coach Derek Dooley suspended him indefinitely in late October.

The suspension was related to Evans falling behind on car payments. He missed five games.

Evans' reinstatement was announced earlier this month. He plans to be back in the secondary rotation for his senior year.

"I had to go back to my parents and we were praying every day,'' Evans said, "trying to do everything the right way and follow the guidelines that Coach Dooley had.

"I'm just glad it's over with.''

Evans was one of several UT athletes mingling with the kids at the Punt, Pass & Kick event, an annual joint venture with the sports management department and the Boys and Girls Clubs.

For the football players, it's a relief not to be spending February feeling out a new head coach, which they were doing with Lane Kiffin in 2009 and Dooley in 2010.

"We've had coaches leaving left and right since I've been here,'' said junior Anthony Anderson. "It's good to know that he's here and he's a concerned coach.

"He wants to do better and all the things he's trying to change, I admire him.

"I just can't wait to see what he has in store for us this year.''

Vols give back, participate in Punt, Pass and Kick

Still, there has been another significant staff adjustment for the players to handle.

Ron McKeefery was hired in mid-January as the new strength-and-conditioning coach after Benny Wylie left for Texas.

"This is my fifth one,'' said Evans, who arrived in 2007.

"After (change) happened two or three times, you understand it's a business. I just try to be ready and embrace it.''

McKeefery is the third strength coach for cornerback Marlalis Teague, who declined to compare the new guy to Wylie.

"It doesn't matter who's giving you the game plan as long as you're getting it,'' said Teague.

The secondary is in flux. Janzen Jackson, a starter at safety the past two years, has withdrawn from school to deal with personal issues. Brent Brewer, the other starting safety, is suspended pending an investigation into alleged domestic violence.

Evans said he keeps in contact with Jackson and anticipates he'll be back in the fall.

"He's doing pretty good,'' Evans said. "The biggest thing people should recognize is that he's grown up a lot. He's a lot more mature now.''

From Both Sides: Anderson, who played at Austin-East High School could relate to the Boys and Girls Club visitors.

"When I was very young I was at all the events here,'' he said. "Gibril and Al Wilson made me feel like I was their little brother.

"I always looked up to them, thinking I wanted to play here one day - never knowing I would play here one day.''

Over It, Finally: Anderson said he finally got over the Music City Bowl heartbreak "about two weeks ago.''

The Vols lost to North Carolina in overtime after a controversial finish at the end of regulation allowed the Tar Heels to kick a field goal prevent a UT victory.

"It's a lesson learned,'' Anderson said. "We had plenty of opportunities to win the game and we should have won the game.''

Follow Mike Strange at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange

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Comments » 34

orangecountyvols writes:

Mr. Evans,

Not many get 2nd chances so do everything to stay on the straight and narrow and make sure your teammates do the same.

Good luck....

VolunteerLifer writes:

This is good news for the secondary, for a change. Glad to see it.

8ball writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Auburn 28 ala 27 for those who like football player in tight pants..

BigVolFaninSC writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey, why don't you go poison some more trees and in the process, ingest some, you blooter!

BubbaJ writes:

Welcome back to Big Orange Country Art! Make your family, friends, coaches, and fans proud this time. A golden opportunity for you now!

PeeEllthree writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Did they let you out already after the tree poisoning? Leave it to bandwagon, nonalumni fans to ruin a great rivalry.

volstokke writes:

Hopefully Art Evans is ready to step up. Maybe this experience will cause him to grow as a person and eventually a leader.

GreerVol22 writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

This is good news for the secondary, for a change. Glad to see it.

Lifer....not so fast...as a sort of famous ESPN color man says. Have you seen the kid play? Regardless of what the lineup says, he is about 5-10 and about 170 soaking wet. He plays 20 yards off his man and couldn't tackle Winnie the Pooh on Main Street. I certainly wish him well cleaning up his b'iness, but Dooley will have to be desperate to start him.

rab63 writes:

in response to GreerVol22:

Lifer....not so fast...as a sort of famous ESPN color man says. Have you seen the kid play? Regardless of what the lineup says, he is about 5-10 and about 170 soaking wet. He plays 20 yards off his man and couldn't tackle Winnie the Pooh on Main Street. I certainly wish him well cleaning up his b'iness, but Dooley will have to be desperate to start him.

Agreed......I can remember watching him play and thinking that he must have a background of "tag" football instead of "tackle".

commonman writes:

in response to 8ball:

Auburn 28 ala 27 for those who like football player in tight pants..

Do you realize how stupid you sound, when did auburn start playing for UT

BankerVol writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dude it's pretty frickin funny that an Alabama fan feels compelled to troll a Tennessee VOL's site, nearly 7 months before the football season even starts.

Get a life loser.

TennVol01 writes:

"The suspension was related to Evans falling behind on car payments."

Is this a team rule, athletics department rule, or a school rule?

wellswillie#404648 writes:

Welcome back ART!!!

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Come on guys, don't be too concerned with Shenny.

He is going to be assigned to watering the new trees with "real water".

And yes, he's a lost soul, ( yeah I know, soul rhymes with troll ) ........cannot find his way to the Tideless websites. Loves it here with the first class site ( GoVolsExtra ) where he can garner attention.

Colliervol writes:

Little Shenny is still searching for something to emulate his hero at Toomer's Corner. Problem is that Mom has locked the basement door and won't let him out. Fortunately it would be difficult to out-dimwit Mr. Updike even when she does let the little darling out to play. Nobody, even Shenny, could be that ignorant. Or could they? I forget how many mulletheads they have down there.

To the subject at hand, I hope Art doesn't crack the rotation at DB. If he does, we are in trouble. He can't cover me and I'm 50 with two bad knees.

CollegeParkVol writes:

in response to volballrocks:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

With all due respect sir, Prentiss Waggner is a top-notch DB. I will put him up there with anyone in this league and by the end of this fall he will be all-conference. Book it.

hodocka writes:

Let's hope he right about Jackson!

tennezz writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Who is Julio Jones?

Snapshot writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Poor little She24, she must be very lonely. the only attention she gets is from trying to pizz off Tenn. fans,how sad.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are the only one that seems concerned about someone catching 15 balls.Get a life man.Why do you want to be such an arss? Go somewhere else for your jollies.People like you are such dumb arses.

BamaVol writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You been playing under to many trees, been to Auburn lately?

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to 8ball:

Auburn 28 ala 27 for those who like football player in tight pants..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCJ8mC...

There called skinny jeans. Shen knows them OH SO WELL!

seaplane#216536 writes:

in response to volballrocks:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agree. Defensive backs were our weakest link last year. Too small to defend the pass and too small to make a tackle. Needs a COMPLETE OVERHAUL.

murrayvol writes:

in response to BigVolFaninSC:

Hey, why don't you go poison some more trees and in the process, ingest some, you blooter!

What the hayel is a "blooter" BigVol???

murrayvol writes:

in response to PeeEllthree:

Did they let you out already after the tree poisoning? Leave it to bandwagon, nonalumni fans to ruin a great rivalry.

I think shen drove the getaway car....a 77' Fury.

murrayvol writes:

in response to TennVol01:

"The suspension was related to Evans falling behind on car payments."

Is this a team rule, athletics department rule, or a school rule?

I know it's a banking rule.

cooper65#432178 writes:

in response to CollegeParkVol:

With all due respect sir, Prentiss Waggner is a top-notch DB. I will put him up there with anyone in this league and by the end of this fall he will be all-conference. Book it.

You are correct, Prentiss is very good and will get better. Now, if Jackson and Brewer get back in the fold, along with Waggner, Teague and hopefully a recruit or 2, the defensive backfield could be an area of strength.

castoff121 writes:

in response to TennVol01:

"The suspension was related to Evans falling behind on car payments."

Is this a team rule, athletics department rule, or a school rule?

NCAA rule. It all depends on who was doing the financing and if they were looking the other way to the missed payments. If anything, they probably suspended him to resolve the situation to avoid any perception of impropriety.

hueypilot writes:

in response to castoff121:

NCAA rule. It all depends on who was doing the financing and if they were looking the other way to the missed payments. If anything, they probably suspended him to resolve the situation to avoid any perception of impropriety.

Of course. Thanks. You just have to put yourself in a cheater's role and say, what would a cheater do? like "sell" a kid a car, then look the other way when he fell behind on his payments. There are so many Alabama fans on here, I can't believe one of them didn't explain it to us before now.

41_14gbo writes:

in response to TennVol01:

"The suspension was related to Evans falling behind on car payments."

Is this a team rule, athletics department rule, or a school rule?

Life rule.

PeeEllthree writes:

in response to 41_14gbo:

Life rule.

Life rule for many is to have a bigger car payment than you do a rent payment.

TKO writes:

Tackle, just tackle.

gbo78 writes:

in response to hueypilot:

Of course. Thanks. You just have to put yourself in a cheater's role and say, what would a cheater do? like "sell" a kid a car, then look the other way when he fell behind on his payments. There are so many Alabama fans on here, I can't believe one of them didn't explain it to us before now.

good one

allvol32 writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

shen24 = unflushable

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