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All in the Family
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O-line prospect Bobby Evans committed to joining his brother at Oklahoma
History has shown us that some of the best recruiters that a college can have on its side are family members — from mothers who want their kids to stay closer to home to fathers who might want their son or daughter to play at their alma mater.
They can all make good sellers.
Bobby Evans is going down that road now. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound tight end/offensive lineman from Allen, Texas, has been dreaming about going to Oklahoma since he can remember. A big part of that dream is due to the fact his father played basketball at OU and his older brother Tay also aspired to be a Sooner.
So when Oklahoma came to him in the summer before his junior season and asked if he wanted to play football in Norman, it didn’t take him long to respond.
“It was a great feeling,” said Evans. “I committed right there on the spot. I was waiting on them to offer me because I really like Coach (Bill) Bedenbaugh and Coach (Bob) Stoops and Coach (Josh) Heupel. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of.”
Evans is the son of Bobby Joe Evans, who played hoops at OU in the 1990s. He spent three seasons helping Kelvin Sampson’s Sooners earn three straight NCAA Tournament berths, and that history was more than enough to leave an impression on both of his football-playing sons.
Tay Evans signed with the Sooners’ 2014 recruiting class back in February.
“It’s different,” said Tay. “A lot of people don’t get to go and play at the next level. And then to get to go to the same school as your dad went to and then also have your younger brother go up there with you — it’s a blessing.”
The older Evans, a 6-foot-3, 202-pound linebacker, committed to the Sooners in July of 2013. While he was happy for his older brother, little brother admitted to being envious.
“I was kind of jealous because they didn’t offer me then,” said Bobby Jr. “I always wanted to go there because it was a dream college of mine since I was a little kid. That just inspired me to work harder and do what I do best. That’s what I wanted.”
Bobby didn’t have to worry much longer. A couple of weeks later, the Oklahoma coaches came back to Allen to pick up the younger brother.
“I knew that once he got the offer, that’s where he was going to go,” said Tay. “It wasn’t really a big surprise. At the same time, I’m excited. Brother going to the same college as me.”
Tay marked the occasion by posting on Twitter, “My baby brother just committed to OU.”
According to Rivals.com, Bobby Evans is the 26th-ranked offensive tackle in the nation heading into the summer. He has only played the position for one season after making the move from tight end.
“Evans was a blocking tight end who made the transition to offensive tackle as a junior and that looks to be a smart move as his greatest upside is as an offensive lineman,” said one recruiting analyst. “Needs to keep developing physically as well as technically and is still a bit of developmental prospect at this stage, but the tools are there to work with. Displays a nice ceiling and ability to grow into a quality starter at the power conference level.”
Despite limited experience at tackle, Evans picked up offers from Southern Methodist, Mississippi, Oregon St. and Texas. Because he committed to OU so quickly, the offers began to dry up soon afterward.
While many collegiate prospects want to enjoy the recruiting visits and attention that comes with being a highly sought after recruit, Evans didn’t see wasting any time when he knew OU is where he wanted to go.
“It’s very special. My brother is like my best friend. And the fact we can play with each other for a couple of more years, that’s fine with me,” said Evans, who said the tougher choice was deciding which sport he wanted to play.
He initially believed he would make his name on the hardwood at Oklahoma before realization set in that he was a football player first.
“I thought I was going to be a basketball player then because I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps,” said Evans. “But I chose football because I like getting bigger and stronger. Football was my way of getting a scholarship and getting into college for free. I decided that during my freshman year (of high school). In my sophomore year, in the playoffs I started at tight end. That pretty much set it off for me right then.”
Bobby remembers that freshman year at Allen being most pivotal. He was trying to make his way on a team that was full of talent.
“Coming up as a freshman, they brought me up to practice a few times with the varsity,” said Evans. “It was kind of scary. I didn’t want to mess up in front of the coaches. I was trying to make a good impression. I saw the way they were working. Then when they put me on the freshman team, that's how my work ethic grew. Now, I'm starting on the varsity. I’ve come a long way.”
Besides the coaches, the younger Evans also had to impress his brother, who was a sophomore that year. But since the two siblings have been competing with each other since they were toddlers, Tay already knew what his brother was made of.
“That was fun. We were always competing with each other,” said Bobby. “He was on defense and I was on offense. We are actually competitive brothers — like to talk trash and all that.”
But that didn't stop Tay from making sure Bobby knew who was still running the show when they had to go against each other in practice.
“We are not that far apart (in age),” said Tay. “So growing up we were always competing. But I’m big bro so it really wasn’t no competition. We have always been competing since we were little kids. But when we went against each other, big bro wins, without a doubt.”
With Bobby having one more year of high school to complete, the brothers will be split up for a season.
While Tay is learning the ropes at Oklahoma, Bobby will look to improve his skills as a tackle.
“(Bobby Evans) displays good first-step quickness for his size,” a recruiting analyst said. “Has good foot speed to get up the seam. An experienced run blocker in the mold of a tackle. A physical point of attack blocker. Needs to gain more experience in route running and in polishing his overall pass catching skills. Almost exclusively utilized in the run game. Evans is a player with a tremendous amount of upside.”
If that is the case, the plan Bobby and Tay have formulated may come to fruition. It includes them helping lead Oklahoma a national championship.
“We always talked about playing together at the same school,” said Tay. “When Oklahoma gave us the opportunity, we jumped right on that, especially since that’s the school we both wanted to go to since we were kids. It’s truly exciting.
“To win a national championship together — that would be crazy. That would be one heck of a story to tell.”
(This story appears in the Spring Sports Review Issue of Sooner Spectator that goes on newsstands June 12. To subscribe, call toll free 1-877-841-8877)