After what some would call a breakout season, Samson Evans is on the national radar this upcoming season. Evans had notable games that caught attention including his 258-yard rushing performance against Arizona St., 122 yards against Massachusetts, 133 yards at Akron, and 135 yards at Central Michigan.
His 2022 campaign, under many circumstances, would be considered successful in both individual and team aspects, but Evans is not concerned about the past anymore. He and the team are pressing forward, focused on capturing a MAC championship, a bowl bid, and achieve the best team success that they can acquire this year.
Having to not only recap the 2022 season, Samson Evans speaks with Charles Boykins III about the upcoming 2023 season:
What was the special moment about your dominant season last year, and were these achievements something you set out prior to the season, or things that just ended up happening?
Evans: "So, I'll say it was a mixture of both. At the beginning of each year, we set out goals for ourselves and for me, the ultimate goal was to get a ring. Whether that was a MAC championship, or a bowl game. And I feel like all those accolades, the 1000 yards, 27 touchdowns, or whatnot, it all kind of just happened trying to chase that goal. So that was special because, going into games, the only thing that really matters to me is winning. So, if that means I have 280 yards against Arizona State, or me getting 50 yards against the other team, at the end of the day, I was just happy about winning. So, I mean, it was exciting, I battled through a lot of stuff, but at the end of the day, just being out there with my guys on offense and defense, it was special."
You've been selected for the Maxwell Award watch list and the Doak Walker watch list for the second consecutive season. Do these preseason selections mean anything to you?
Evans: "I think it definitely means something, just to get recognized for last season, but I would also say that it's also your last season. I did well last year, but just because I get those awards now, it doesn't mean I'm going to do well this season. I still have to put in the work in the offseason, so for me personally, all these awards are nice, but I know what I have to put in during the offseason to achieve stuff like that. So, I personally deleted my Twitter and Instagram, just so I couldn't see those things. That's something that I do to kind of clear my mind, especially in camp, to just really focus in on my craft and get into our wannabe."
There's been some buzz about the 1-2 punch that you and Jaylon Jackson are and what you're able to bring to the table. What is it like to not only know how good you are but how good the next guy up is? Does that help push you during drills, team sections of practice, individuals or even your pre-practice stuff such as team/group meetings?
Evans: "I'll start off by saying that Jaylon Jackson's been nothing but special this camp, and this offseason he's putting in a lot of work, I'm really excited to see what he can do this season. Because, I think we kind of just scratched the surface there at the end of last season. He finally got comfortable, and now that he's getting more, and more comfortable with those guys, he's been doing some special things out there, so I'm excited about that. I think as a unit, just like as a running back room and the offense in general, we're all really close, so that helps us out a lot. And for the position group, me and Jay have two totally different running styles I think that kind of helps us both out. I'm more physical, so like he sees me being physical and that makes him want to be physical, I see him making those jukes and that pushes me to try to make those jukes or cuts. Maybe I might not be able to, but at least I can try to do it just to maybe have something like that in my bag. So, I think we complement each other well and we talk about it all the time. He's always saying he's like "bro I need you to wear them down so then I can use my speed to get around so that's what we're going to do this year."
We know you dealt with some health issues last season and luckily nothing wasn't too serious, but you didn't participate in this year's spring game. Going into the new season, how are you prioritizing your health?
Evans: "The coaches have been really helpful for me just helping me get through practice but I’m still getting a good amount of work in. And still staying active and still doing a lot of stuff. I'll say health wise like me personally, I've been taking a lot better care of my body, especially after last season. I have seen how the whole season can take on my body so, I've been making sure I'm getting treatment before practice after practice, later in the day, so probably about three or four times a day. I'm getting in the treatment room trying to get healthy or stay healthy, so I'm trying to be proactive instead of reactive on all my recovery type deals. I think it's been it's been helping a lot."