Rashad Evans Looks to Spark Bulldogs

Sept. 26, 2012

FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State senior wide receiver Rashad Evans is set to return this weekend after missing the first four games of the season.

Two days before the Bulldogs were set to open the 2012 season, Evans was handed the ugly news that he had been ruled ineligible by the NCAA for not taking enough credits during the 2011-12 academic year.

Head coach Tim DeRuyter and Evans, a business administration major, were both perplexed by the ruling because they were under the impression that Evans had done what was needed to be eligible. Even more perplexing was that Evans was ruled ineligible when he is set to graduate this December.

Evans had to sit out that first game and then after his appeal was denied by the NCAA the following week, he was ruled ineligible for three additional games.

"I am extremely disappointed by the decision of the NCAA committee," DeRuyter said when it was announced that Evans would not be eligible until Sept. 29. "Rashad did everything that was asked of him to regain his eligibility by NCAA bylaws."

"At first it looked like it would only be one game," Evans added. "I had to stick through it. It was a process and the NCAA denied the appeal so I had to sit out four games. I had to go with it, had to make the best out of the situation."

Now with the first four games complete, Evans is ready to make his 2012 debut.

"I'm pretty pumped up to be back with my team," said Evans, adding that it was his teammates that helped him get through the tough time.

"Everybody keeps together. When one person gets down, another one picks them up," he said. "You just got to lean on your teammates because they are going to be there through thick and thin, so they were there for me all the time."

An NFL hopeful, losing four games in his senior season was a tough pill for Evans to swallow. However, NFL scouts can take notice with the class that Evans demonstrated during this time of adversity.

It would have been easy for him to sound off in frustration, but Evans remained even-keeled and stuck by his teammates. Knowing he would be out for the start of the season, he started working with the scout team to help prepare the defense for the upcoming games.

"I did scout team trying to help the defense out during the week and just tried to make the best of the situation," he explained.

Evans is proud of his fellow receivers for making plays and being productive in the new spread offense through the first four weeks of the season. Now that he is coming back, he is hoping to add another dimension to the offense.

"I feel like I just got to go out there and do my best and just try to have the guys feed off me," Evans said. "Just go out there and make plays. That's what we are supposed to do at receiver - that is our job description, to get our offense going."

Everybody around the program is in agreement that his return this week will provide a spark to an offense that is already averaging 39 points per game.

"Just his talent being back on the field is going to give a lot of help," quarterback Derek Carr said.

Evans is the most experience receiver of a deep and talented group. He has 104 receptions in his career for 1,007 yards and seven touchdowns.

Having his leadership and experience back in the fold comes at a good time, as Saturday's game against San Diego State looms large for the Bulldogs - it is their first-ever Mountain West league game.

"Coach DeRuyter comes in, he talks about being Mountain West Champions and this is where it starts," Evans said. "This is the first conference game of the season for us, so everybody is excited about getting after it."

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