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The final image of Mike Evans with the Texas A&M Aggies for most will be that of quarterback Johnny Manziel getting in the face of the playmaking wide receiver after a pair of 15-yard penalties in the first half of the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year's Eve.
Evans, a physical 6-foot-5, 225-pound wide receiver and the No. 10 overall prospect according to NFLDraftScout.com ratings, did as expected Thursday in announcing he will enter the 2014 NFL Draft. The fire Evans plays with is considered among his biggest strengths and one of his biggest weaknesses.
Evans lacks explosive straight-line speed, but is a vertical threat reminiscent of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Vincent Jackson who has long strides and the size and length to simply out-leap and out-muscle defenders for the ball downfield.
"Evans challenges cornerbacks to tackle him, initiating the contact and, at times, dragging would-be tacklers for extra yardage," NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Rob Rang wrote in evaluating Evans. "Able to dominate the smaller, weaker corners at the collegiate level but could struggle to do so in the NFL."
Rang and fellow analyst Dane Brugler both currently see Evans as a good fit for the Baltimore Ravens with the No. 16 overall pick in their current mock drafts.
Evans led the Aggies with 65 catches for 1,322 yards and 12 touchdowns during the regular season, breaking Ryan Swope's 2011 single-season school record of 1,207 receiving yards, and added four catches for 72 yards in Tuesday night's dramatic comeback victory over Duke.
He is the second-rated wide receiver currently behind only Sammy Watkins (No. 5 overall), a junior who will announce his intentions for 2014 sometime following Clemson's game against Ohio State in the Orange Bowl on Friday night.
"After talking things over with Coach (Kevin) Sumlin and my family, I have decided to enter the NFL Draft," Evans said in a statement released by Texas A&M. "Thanks go to Texas A&M for giving me an opportunity to play college football. Thanks also to my coaches and teammates for helping me develop as a player and as a man. I made this decision based on what I thought was best for myself and my family."
Fellow underclassmen wide receivers Allen Robinson from Penn State and Oregon State's Brandin Cooks also announced earlier Thursday they will enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
"It's been a pleasure watching Mike's development as a receiver and a person the past two seasons," Sumlin said of Evans. "Mike was one of the team's hardest workers in whatever he was doing, and it paid off for him on the field.
"I think one of the highest compliments you can say about Mike is that he plays as hard when he doesn't have the ball in his hands as when he does. Texas A&M wishes him the best as he moves on to the next chapter in his life."