NORMAN — Draped in his father's No. 78 crimson jersey, flanked by two OU football helmets, 3-year-old Jordan Evans posed for a picture. “Following the Tradition,” read the inscription on the frame.
Evans turns 18 on Sunday; on Feb. 6 he plans to sign a letter of intent to play football for the Sooners. The photo proved true.
But it took awhile to get there.
The son of Scott Evans was a late bloomer. Until two years ago, Jordan Evans thought of himself as a basketball player. Until the 2011 Class 6A playoffs, Scott Evans wasn't sure his son could be a Division I football player. Until two months ago, OU hadn't offered a scholarship.
And if Virginia Tech had shown interest, Jordan Evans likely would be Blacksburg bound. The son of a Sooner grew up a Hokie fan, drawn to Michael Vick in that wild Sugar Bowl 13 years ago. Jordan's Christmases over the years have included a steady stream of Virginia Tech gear.
But now Jordan Evans, a strapping 6-foot-3 speedster, who was a linebacker, an occasional wildcat quarterback and big-play kick returner at Norman North, is headed for his dad's alma mater.
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Yep, that Scott Evans.
As good a pick as any as the most underrated Sooner of them all. A three-time all-Big Eight defensive tackle, 1988-90. Lee Roy Selmon didn't make all-Big Eight three times. Neither did Tony Casillas. But Scott Evans did, and Tommie Harris (2001-03) joined him as OU's only three-time all-conference defensive tackles.
Evans also is as good a pick as any as the most interesting Sooner I ever interviewed. He was introspective. Able to talk about things outside football. I remember a 1990 chat with Evans about Vietnam. He was completely enthralled with the Vietnam era. Read books, wrote papers, took classes about that period of American history.
Didn't surprise me at all to learn that Scott Evans has lived in Norman for 20 years, since retiring from football after one NFL season, and has kept a low profile concerning Sooner football. Evans always seemed like the type who wouldn't live the rest of his life recalling the good old days.
“I don't want to be in the spotlight,” Scott Evans said. “It was 20 years ago. I don't go back to the university much. I haven't been to the games, haven't really kept up with the O Club or anything.
“When school was done, my job was working, providing for my family. So that's by design. I'm living life, taking care of my family, and that's a full-time job.”
But Jordan always knew his dad was a Sooner. Scott's office at home has OU memorabilia, and Jordan didn't mind telling his friends about it. “I could say, ‘My dad played for OU,'” Jordan said. “It was cool to say that.”
Father and son aren't necessarily alike.
“Scott will speak his mind,” said Tenika Evans, Scott's wife and Jordan's mother. “Jordan's more laid back. Kind of reserved.”
Said Scott, “He's a lot better person than I was at that age. I had some arrogance and a wild side to me that he doesn't. He's genuine, caring, unselfish.
“Our similarities are sports, work ethic, determination. Wanting to be as good as you could possibly be. A lot of things I'm glad he doesn't follow in my footsteps.”