Name: Randall Evans
College: Kansas State
NFL games played: 1
Games played for the Chargers: 0
Fun fact: Evans first ever interception came in his Sophomore year of High School - when he was lined up against T.Y. Hilton!
If you're a basketball fan, you'll know the name. Now a veteran in the NBA, he's the reason Randall Evans is part of the Chargers 90 man roster. Without Beasley, Evans would never have made it this far.
See, Randall Evans was a damn fine High School football player, with 12 interceptions and 115 tackles in his final two seasons at High School. Despite that, not a single D1 team was interested in Evans, with all his offers coming from D2 schools. It looked like he was destined to ply his trade in D2 - until a Christmas party thrown by his girlfriend's family changed everything.
The brother of his girlfriend just so happened to be Michael Beasley, NBA player and former Kansas State student. Beasley encouraged Evans to attempt to walk onto Kansas State's football team, and Beasley's mother made contact with a basketball coach at Kansas State to recommend Evans as a football player. Spurred on by those conversations, Evans chose to ignore those D2 offers and attempt to become a walk on at Kansas State.
After redshirting his first year, Evans played sporadically in his Redshirt Freshman year, but came to life in his third year there. Evans saw time in 13 games, making 76 tackles (third best on the team) and grabbed his first career interception. Most importantly, he was finally given a scholarship. He repaid that faith, earning Midseason All-Big 12 accolades from journalist Phil Steele in 2013, before being named a First Team All-Big 12 in 2014, as well as a First Team Academic All-Big 12.
Evans had the production in college, and he also had the measureables - Evans stands at 6'0, 190 lbs (which is pretty good size for a CB in the NFL), and ran his 40 yard dash at his Pro Day in 4.44 seconds. He might have been overlooked going into college, but NFL teams weren't about to make the same mistake, and Evans was drafted with the 196th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Unfortunately, Evans' name was on the list of the final preseason cuts, but was quickly signed to the Eagles Practice Squad, and made his way onto the active roster for the final game of the season. That wasn't a sign of things to come, however, as Evans would be cut by the Eagles in the 2016 preseason. He stayed unemployed until December, when the Chargers signed him onto their Practice Squad, before giving Evans a reserves/futures contract in January 2017, which simply meant he'd be given a place on the 90 man roster, with a chance to win a place on the active 53.
I have mixed feelings about Evans' chances to win a permanent spot here. On the one hand, the Chargers CB depth is non-existent after Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward. Craig Mager's time might be up if he fails to show that he's improved from his rookie season. Trovon Reed is probably the number #3 CB right now, but there's no guarantee he'll even make it to the active 53.
My personal feeling is the Chargers will keep 5 CBs if they don't count Desmond King as a CB or 6 if they do, which means there's 3 open spots, realistically. Even if you say that both Reed and Mager are locks for the active roster (which they aren't), there's still one CB spot up for grabs. Michael Lee from BYU has reportedly impressed the coaching staff thus far this year, and Trevor Williams looked reasonable last season, but there's not a CB on the roster who doesn't have a decent chance at still being here in September. If he has a strong camp, he's making the team.
With that said, it's important to be realistic. Evans is already 25, and is heading into his third NFL season - which is about how long the average NFL career lasts. If Evans can't catch on with the Chargers - and my honest feeling right now is that he probably won't - there's a very real chance that it would signal the end of his professional football career.
Hopefully, he proves me wrong and that's not the case. But, if it is, what will Evans do next? Well, he's got a lot of options. Evans left Kansas State as the proud owner of two bachelor's degrees, with one in Sociology (with an emphasis in Criminology), and the second in American Ethnic Studies.
You can tell that Criminology is a real passion of his, and not just something he studied because he had nothing better to do. Evans' father, Sheldon, works as a correctional officer, and Randall himself is on record as saying that if he didn't play football, he'd likely be working as a probation officer. That's pretty different from the usual answers of 'football coach' or 'musician.'
Whether it's because football was never a certainty for Evans or not, Evans is well prepared for whatever comes next in his life. If that's football, fantastic. If it's not, he's done himself proud regardless. The former walk-on made it a lot further than anyone - including possibly himself - expected. Only time will tell what's next for Evans, but he'll be ready for it. Either way, he'll be ready.