By Chris Cox
At 6-6 and 290 pounds, Shawnee sophomore Ja’Qwon Evans has the size every offensive lineman wants. But despite his size, Evans admits playing football wasn’t always what he wanted to do.
“I wasn’t really into football when it first became an option,” he says. “Everybody in my family grew up playing sports and I started playing in 5th grade. But I didn’t get into it as early as everybody else got into it. I was more of a quieter and weirder kid if we’re being honest. Before football, I loved draw and play games. I’d go to school, come home, play games, draw, and that would be it.”
While his passion for football wasn’t immediate, it has grown over time and now he wants to be the best he can.
“Once I started, I liked it,” he says. “I played to play because it was fun when I was little. But now I play because I love it and there are so many opportunities that can come from it.”
Those opportunities that football can bring are what Evans is trying get over these next three years at Shawnee High School. To get those opportunities, he is trying to make himself as well rounded of a player as possible.
“This year, I just want to know the playbook as well as possible,” he says. “I know all of the plays, but I want to know the other positions. It’s about chemistry and knowing where your teammates are going to be.”
To put it another way, Evans says playing well is all about doing your job.
“It’s as simple as not missing the block,” he says. “Just go find someone and lay them out.”
Evans is confident that if he can know the playbook inside and out, that’ll make him a better player and, in turn, get his name out there for those opportunities to play at the next level.
Outside of football, Evans is focused on his academics and making sure that his grades are good enough to eventually play at the next level.
“You can be a five-star athlete, but you can’t get into a school with a 2.0 GPA,” he says. “When I’m not at practice or in the film room, I’m making sure I’m taking care of my stuff in the classroom.”