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January 1, 2014

North product could take field in Sugar Bowl

METAIRIE, La. — Though he’ll be suited up and ready, Jordan Evans is not certain he’ll be seeing any actual action during Thursday night’s Sugar Bowl, when Oklahoma takes on Alabama inside the Superdome.

His injured ankle has heeled well enough for him to resume a full practice schedule, but there are sometimes consequences to the missed reps injuries lead to.

“I may be in there,” he said Tuesday. “We still have a couple of days.”

Whether the Norman North product takes the field against the Crimson Tide, there can be no doubt just how far he’s come the last 15 months or so of his life.

Playing offense, defense and becoming the state’s most dangerous special teams player, Evans led North to the 2012 Class 6A championship game.

Next, he arrived at OU and quickly became too valuable to consider redshirting, earning time as a special teams starter and backing up Frank Shannon, OU’s leading tackler, at the linebacker position.

Then, when Shannon was hurt, Evans filled in well enough that the Sooner defense hardly missed a beat. And now, here he is in New Orleans, hoping to play, of course, but more importantly at peace with a true freshman season in which he has managed to demonstrate his worthiness.

“I’m very happy with the season I’ve had,” said Evans, who will enter Thursday night with 12 tackles, half a tackle for loss, one pass break-up and one pass deflection. “I was able to be very productive and made good strides as a freshman and got a lot of experience … Going into next year, I feel like (that) will help me.”

It should.

Evans understands that what he’s really done is lay a foundation for more and better things ahead.

“There are levels to this,” he said. “I proved that I could play. Now I need to prove that I can be an impact player.”

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