By virtually all projections, Ball High alum Mike Evans will have his name called today during one of the most anticipated and talked about events on the sports calendar: the NFL Draft.
Among the many fans who will be tuning in to the draft will be a mentor of Evans who once helped guide him through a different sport.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Mike if he were my own son,” said Ball High head basketball coach Jerald Temple. “He deserves all the praise and accolades he’s getting right now.”
Temple said he still keeps in frequent contact with his former pupil and expressed pride in Evans now being at the forefront of such a big event.
“He’s just excited as you would expect,” Temple said. “He’s handled all the hype with poise and class.”
As with any draft, there has been weeks of speculation on where players will be picked and what players are the best fits for different teams.
Eight out of nine draft analysts on NFL.com project Evans will be picked seventh overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with the lone dissenter putting him at No. 5 to the Oakland Raiders.
Projections on CBSSports.com’s mock drafts are similar, with Evans going anywhere from sixth to 10th. Scouts Inc. ranks the 6-foot-5, 230-pound wide receiver as its seventh-best overall prospect in the 2014 draft.
“I asked him about that last time I talked to him and he said, ‘Coach, there are so many scenarios,’” Temple said. “He’s just ready to get drafted and get started wherever he ends up.”
Evans’ meteoric rise to top-10 NFL prospect comes after not playing football until he was a senior at Ball High. While he also starred in basketball for the Tors, Evans’ promise at the wide receiver position was enough to earn him a scholarship at Texas A&M.
After being redshirted for the 2011 season, Evans recorded 82 receptions for 1,105 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 2012. His breakout year was this past season, when he had 69 catches for 1,394 yards and 12 touchdowns. In A&M’s 2013 home game against Alabama, Evans a school record for receiving yards in a single game with 279 yards on seven receptions.
be Sam’s day
Hitchcock alum Michael Sam, who made headlines when he came out as football’s first openly gay player, is expected to be drafted in the sixth or seventh round, according to Sam’s representatives who also said about five teams have expressed interest.
Although Sam’s agent is confident he will be drafted, should the defensive end go undrafted, he is expected to be a priority free agent.
It was also announced Wednesday that Sam will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs award ceremony in July.
The fourth through seventh rounds will take place Saturday, with the fourth round beginning at 11 a.m.
Daily News correspondent Brandon C. Williams contributed to this article.