FOOTBALL: Welcome To 'The Good Life'
Return Man and Wide Receiver Spiffy Evans Has A Flare For Flashy Play, But Must Do It Consistently
Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 01:09
"The life he lives and swag he has…has took the world without warning,” flashes across the screen between clips in a montage that features Spiffy Evans speaking and holding up highlights from his shoe collection in his dorm room over swooshing, soaring sounds, glimmering lights, and fade-outs. This is “The Good Life Trailer,” a video that you are likely to come across while searching for Evans’ highlights as a wide receiver and kick and punt returner for Boston College, which teases a series of video diaries.
A first glance down the name column of a BC roster may cause some confusion when one comes to the listing next to number seven. When publishing Evans’s name, the athletic department doesn’t use any sort of quotations or other stylization to denote that “Spiffy” is a name that was given to Evans long ago when his family noticed a confidence and sense of style in their young child that stays with him to this day.
“When I was a younger kid I never wanted to be dressed by my parents,” Evans said. “I dressed myself. I bought a bunch of shoes when I was younger. I saved money up, so around the age of seven my grandfather gave me the name and it just stuck because they always said I was a spiffy kid.”
Evans’s closet quickly justifies the nickname. Boxes and boxes of sneakers contain around 680 different pairs of shoes. On campus at BC, he keeps about 90 of those close at hand. These aren’t just sneakers. The collection that Evans has put together includes retro styles, special editions, and commemorative editions. At the moment there is no single pair that he could come up with that stands apart from others.
“For my favorite I would say anything from Nike—Jordans, mostly the classics,” he said. “I have a lot from like 2000, I have a lot from ’88, so I have a wide variety.”
Evans came to BC from Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory in Hollywood, Fla., where he led the Lions to the Florida state title game during his junior year and was awarded All-State Class 2B first team honors the following season.
When it came to choosing the next step in his journey, even though he was recruited to Florida by his now head coach Steve Addazio who was, at the time, the Gators’ offensive coordinator, BC became a clear choice because of his interaction with future teammates.
“When I came here I remember [Alex] Amidon and I hung around with Andre Williams, Steven Daniels, the list goes on, and just being around the guys.” he said. “And my mom loved the school, so if my momma likes it, I got to do it.”
Though there is an edge of humor in Evan’s words, the core of it is true. He is always quick to emphasize the importance that he places in family. Evans grew up with three siblings: two older brothers and one younger. Although he was long treated as the baby of the family, he is very aware of the impact that he has on the life of his younger brother as a role model. On and off the field, he uses his family as motivation.
“I just keep them on my mind on every play—what am I doing it for, you know? And my motto that I always tell myself is ‘who you do it for,’” he said.
During his 2011 freshman season, Evans made his way into the lineup as a kick returner. In 23 attempts he managed a total of 485 yards putting up an impressive average of 21.1 yards per return, but he didn’t have a breakout performance to shoot him into the spotlight during his first season in maroon and gold.
During his sophomore season, Evans’ kick return average actually dropped slightly to 18.6 yards per return, but his performance in another area—punt returns—earned him more recognition as a contributor to the Eagles’ effort. It was in this other area that Evans gained widespread attention after a breakout performance against the University of Maine during the second game of his sophomore season.
Two minutes and 45 seconds remained on the clock in the third quarter when the punt left Maine’s Jeffrey Ondish’s foot. BC had a comfortable 20-3 lead, but as the kick soared over his head, Evans back-pedaled about 15 yards in order to get a solid stance under the ball. When it reached him at the 17 yard line, he was off. The long 62-yard punt was well beyond the Black Bears’ coverage, and by the time Evans was level with any sort of defender, the Eagles had created an almost clear lane for him to sprint through. Only touched by one hand, 83 yards later Evans was running straight through the end zone to acknowledge the cheering student section.
“It landed in the right spot … and once I caught it I just stuck a foot in the ground and ran as fast as I could,” Evans said after the game.
His words characterize him. He is not loud or flashy when he speaks and his 5-11, 190-pound frame is not a particularly daunting one, but he carries a tone of confidence that mixes with humility to form a player with much more than just himelf and his personal progress on his mind.
In the previous game, Evans had made his first reception. Against Maine, he had his second, third, fourth, and fifth, one of them being for a touchdown. It was his breakout moment. It seemed as though Evans had clicked and was ready to start contributing to the Eagle offense regularly.
He put up three more solid performances at wide receiver against Northwestern, Clemson, and Army during the successive weeks with multiple receptions in each game. A sole catch at Florida State in the sixth week of the season, however, foreshadowed a struggle that he would cope with through the end of the season.