Back Jaques Evans: “Instinctual Intimidator”

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Jaques Evans: “Instinctual Intimidator”

By Barry Every
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The 6-foot-1, 225-pound junior linebacker recorded 87 tackles, seven TFL’s and two sacks last season.

This past season Dublin (Ga.) surprised many preseason pollsters by capturing their first outright Region Championship since 2011. Head Coach Rogers Holmes led the Fighting Irish to an (11-2/6-0) record, outscoring his region foe by the tune 254 to 38. Cochran (Ga.) Bleckley County was the only region opponent able to muster more than one touchdown versus this tenacious defense.

One of the elite performers for the Fighting Irish was two-way standout Jaques Evans. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound junior linebacker recorded 87 tackles, seven TFL’s and two sacks while adding four receptions for 111 yards and one score from his tight end position.

“I’ve been coaching for 36 years and Evans ranks in the top three best players I’ve ever coached,” Holmes said. “I’m basing it on his overall skillset; he is a phenomenal hard working kid with great football instincts and simply a natural athlete. For example, my kicker got hurt last season and I spent just one week with him and he started kicking six yards deep. This past season my punter got hurt and we taught Evans how to rugby kick.”

His gridiron prowess did not go unnoticed earning First Team All-Region and Honorable Mention All-State by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Evans was also selected to play in the GACA All-Star Classic where he recorded two TFL’s and one sack while playing multiple defensive positions.

“Evans will be a four-year starter; as a freshman we had to find a place for him on the field so he started out as a one-technique,” Holmes said. As a sophomore he was back at one-technique, then as a junior we used him as an inside backer in a 3-4 look as well as using him along the line in a 4-3 front. He is really the reason our defense gave up less than nine points a game.”

Evans is also a weight room warrior boasting at 290-pound bench, 460-pound squat and a 285-power clean. More impressive may be the fact that Evans is a three-sport standout who stars as a power forward on the basketball team as well as being an All-Region soccer player.

“One thing recruiters need to know about Evans is the fact that he only turned 16 this past October; he will only be 17 years old when he graduates,” Holmes said. “He is definitely a DI kid, everyone that came through to see senior Steven Linton took notice of him and Romello Height. South Florida offered Evans on the spot after seeing him play just one quarter of football.”

He currently holds offers from Arizona State, Cincinnati, Kent State, South Florida and Western Kentucky. Evans is also receiving recruiting attention from Appalachian State, Baylor, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Kentucky, Louisville, Nebraska, South Carolina and Tennessee.

“Coach Antonio Pierce of Arizona State has been doing a great job recruiting me; I just feel like he is my guy,” Evans said. “He does a great job of keeping in touch with me and that is important. One school that is recruiting me I’d like to hear more from is South Carolina. I’ve always liked them since I was a child.”

Evans may be a new name to many as he did not attend a single college camp last season. As of now he has yet to decide where he will attend camps this spring. He currently holds a 2.3 core GPA and is working with the school counselor to schedule an upcoming ACT.

“I really think he’ll be a linebacker at the next level,” Holmes said.  “He runs well for being 6-foot-1, 225-pounds and he is definitely athletic enough to play linebacker; he’ll be 100% linebacker for us this coming season. Right now he is on the bubble academically, but he’ll definitely end up qualifying.”

So what is it that really makes this menacing monster standout amongst his peers? Having seen him in person the player that he physically resembles the most is Homerville (Ga.) Clinch County star Trezman Marshall, who signed with Georgia in December.

“I simply like making plays, my knowledge of the game allows me to pick plays apart,” Evans said. “I see things before they happen, the game just simply slows down for me. I’m someone that likes to make plays behind my pads. It’s all about playing the game not attending camps without pads.”

Dublin attained one of their goals last season, winning the Region Championship and earning that coveted #1-seed. But they fell flat in their quarterfinal loss to Franklin (Ga.) Heard County.

“I have to keep working on my top end speed while getting stronger in the weight room,” Evans said. “I have to lead the guys, simply put if I lead others will follow.”

Those are bold words, but leading by example is the only true way to make change. Also bold is Coach Holmes comment about Evans being one of the best players he has ever coached in his long tenure as a football coach. I for one would take heed of that statement as should college recruiters looking for a defensive difference maker.