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Wide receiver Mike Evans' journey to Kyle Field has included several twists and turns - Aggie Sports: Football

Wide receiver Mike Evans' journey to Kyle Field has included several twists and turns

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Posted: Saturday, November 2, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 10:23 pm, Wed Jan 8, 2014.

Heather Kilgore is still adjusting to hearing her son's name being mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate.

Her son is Texas A&M sophomore receiver Mike Evans.

"It's all so surreal to me," Kilgore said. "I just recently heard in the last couple of days people talking about him as a candidate, and I was like, 'Is this real?'"

In just a few years, Evans has morphed from a basketball standout at Galveston Ball High School into arguably the best wide receiver in the nation.

Evans became Heisman-winner Johnny Manziel's favorite target during his freshman season, catching 82 passes for 1,105 yards and five touchdown, and he's been even better this season with 48 catches for 1,101 yards and 11 touchdowns through eight games.

In addition to his physical gifts, Evans credits his breakout to becoming a father 17 months ago.

"It's great. It changes your life," Evans said. "I'm more mature now, and I have something to play for now."

Like her son, Kilgore became a parent at a young age. She had Mike when she was 14 and his sister, Mikia, just 10 months later.

"It was really hard," Kilgore said. "But I did graduate high school, the same school he graduated from."

Raising her children in Galveston, Kilgore used sports as a way to keep them out of trouble.

"I always tried to put them in stuff and keep them busy," she said. "I didn't want them to go the wrong way. He was always busy, always in a tournament or going somewhere."

Evans stopped playing football after the ninth grade and focused on basketball.

"He originally decided to stay with basketball," former Galveston Ball football coach David Suggs said. "And then he finally got tired of me and the other coaches trying to get him, and he decided to come out.

"We bugged him all the time. If it wasn't me, it was my defensive coordinator ,and if it wasn't him, it was the offensive coordinator. He was getting double- and triple-teamed all just to give him more opportunities to come out and offer him a chance to play at the collegiate level and give him more options."

Suggs knew that Evans was a special talent the first time he saw him on the basketball court.

"Watching him play those games and seeing how I view him ... [he's] a blue-collar worker, nothing real fancy, but he's going to do everything that has to be done to ensure that he gives his team the best opportunity to win," he said.

Suggs finally gained Evans' attention because of another converted basketball player Suggs coached at Beaumont Central -- Cincinnati Bengals tackle Anthony Collins.

In addition to his talent, Suggs saw something special in Evans' character.

"I grew up in a tough situation in my hometown, too," Suggs said. "But the thing I see in kids who [grow up in that situation] is what type of attitude they have and their determination to get out of it, and he wasn't the type of kid to allow his surroundings to pull him in. He's the one who moved himself out of it to do better."

Evans' goal after high school was to play basketball at Texas. The Longhorns waited too long though.

"They didn't seem interested in him [at first], so he wasn't interested in them," Kilgore said. "But after they saw him play a game against La Marque, they decided he was someone they wanted, but he had already committed to A&M during an unofficial visit."

After Hurricane Ike, Kilgore and her family lost their house in Galveston for about a year.

"Everything was out and closed, and this town was out of commission for a while," Kilgore said. "When I was looking for hotels, we happened to go to College Station, and I don't even know how this happened. This was way before [Mike] even knew what he was going to do [after high school].

"And he saw the campus then and maybe thought, 'This is cool.' I never expected him to be an Aggie, so I thought it was cool that now he's in that town and goes to school in that town."

Juggling his studies as a sports management major and playing for the Aggies doesn't let Evans see his daughter, MacKenzie, as much as he would like. She made the trip to Kyle Field for the Auburn game with Kilgore, who affectionately calls her "my little sumo wrestler."

"It's tough," Evans said. "But I go to school and play ball, and I do it all for her."

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1 comment:

  • Dwayne posted at 6:57 pm on Sat, Nov 2, 2013.

    Dwayne Posts: 2

    Mike is a beast on the field. Grew up hard , and he plays hard ![beam]


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