During Alabama’s national championship celebration, Evans explained his decision not to play in the game.
“The whole reason for that, man, was really just to be focused on the [NFL] combine,” Evans said Saturday. “The fact that I was able to complete a whole four years of just being at ‘Bama, man, I felt like that was good enough, and the fact that I’m able to have the opportunity to be in the combine, man, I definitely want to put on a show, for sure.”
For the first time in his career, Evans was a full-time starter at inside linebacker this season. Evans finished tied for the team lead with 74 total tackles. He had a team-high 13 tackles for loss and 6 sacks. One of Alabama’s four permanent captains, Evans was credited with a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and 3 pass breakups.
Evans also provided an update on his health. He dealt with a groin injury for much of the season.
“Absolutely, I’m healthy, man,” Evans said. “Not being in the Senior Bowl had nothing to do with me not being healthy, man. To be honest with you, I’m healthy as I’ve ever been. And I’m just truly trying to get myself ready for this combine and just shock some people.”
Evans is projected by many to be a late first-round pick, including by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.
Evans said he thought long about playing in the game, but the timing wouldn’t work out. Like other Alabama players and players from around the country, Evans felt it’d be better to let his tape speak for itself.
“It was a decision I thought about for a long time. I actually was going to play in there, but then I realized, man, I put four years of good football, man, and I just wanted to leave it at that and just kind of let the cards lay where they may,” Evans said. “I just wanted to get ready for this combine, and once I’ve been doing all my grinding and all that stuff that I have been, I just want to put it all together at the combine.”
What does Evans plan on working on between now and the combine?
“Really just working on my 40, man,” Evans said. “I feel like that’s the No. 1 thing for me. If I do a good 40, I feel like that will make a big difference in my draft.”