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Jeff Woo

Dane Evans: NFL quest a full-time job

Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans, left, looks to pass against Central Michigan in the Miami Beach Bowl on Dec. 19 in Miami.Erik Campos
Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans, left, looks to pass against Central Michigan in the Miami Beach Bowl on Dec. 19 in Miami.
Erik Campos

EDITOR’S NOTE: Former Sanger standout and record-setting Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans is preparing for the NFL draft. Over the next several Sundays, Evans will provide insight into his life as an NFL prospect chasing his dream of being drafted, despite being undersized and overlooked.

 

After my trip to Houston for some awesome Super Bowl festivities, it’s time to get back to the daily grind of training, eating, recovering, sleeping in my hotel and training some more.

But first, let’s talk a bit about my college career and what got me to this point — training for a chance to be drafted into the NFL.

I played for Tulsa from 2012-16 after skipping baseball season my senior year at Sanger to enroll early and compete for the quarterback job as a freshman. I ended up redshirting.

While at Tulsa, I went through two head coaches, four different offensive coordinators, and six quarterback coaches. This doesn’t sound like the ideal situation for anyone to be successful in, but I loved every second of it.

When I earned the starting job midway through my redshirt freshman season in 2013, I never looked back. In the good times and the bad, I just stayed the course and knew nothing could beat hard work.

Trust me, we had bad times.

We went 3-9 in 2013 and followed that up with a 2-10 record my sophomore season. In college football, that leads to one thing, thus came the new head coach. His name is Philip Montgomery, and I love that man.

As a junior in 2015, we went 6-7 and lost to Virginia Tech 55-52 in the Independence Bowl. I threw for 4,332 yards and 25 touchdowns that year.

Then, the big year. The year that was supposed to get me on noted NFL draft guru Mel Kiper’s big board, and what did we do? We went OFF!!

We finished my senior year with a 10-3 record. Our losses were to Ohio State and two really controversial endings at Navy and Houston.

I had a pretty good year, throwing for 3,348 yards and 32 touchdowns. Why did my passing numbers drop by almost 1,000 yards from my junior to senior season, you may ask?

Well, this past season, we set an NCAA record by becoming the first team in the history of college football to have a quarterback throw for at least 3,000 yards, two running backs rush for at least 1,000 yards and two wideouts rack up more than 1,000 receiving yards.

I ended my collegiate career in the Miami Beach Bowl on Dec. 19. The game was in Miami at Marlins Park, and we beat Central Michigan 55-10. I was awarded the MVP trophy after going 28-of-38 for 305 yards and five touchdown passes.

Now that my career is over at Tulsa, I own just about every school record for quarterbacks — passing yards (11,680), touchdown passes (84), completions (904), attempts (1,577), total offense, 300-yard passing games and 400-yard passing games.

All of that has gotten me to here — training six days a week and treating it like a full-time job.

The training each week is a mix of speed, power and strength work for all the events I will be doing March 10 at Tulsa’s pro day, where scouts from across the NFL will watch my Tulsa teammates and I run through various drills in advance of April’s draft.

My main trainer, Josh Caruthers, is the director of APEC Fort Worth, where I train. He explained what we are doing right now by equating me to a decathlete. Not only am I a quarterback, but right now I need to be a great 40-yard dash runner, pro-agility runner, high jumper, broad jumper and more.

It makes more sense to me that way. I just think about it as a track meet. The scouts are just fans in the stands waiting to see a show.