Last year, Johnny Manziel made history with Texas A&M by becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman. Without Mike Evans, it wouldn't have happened.
Evans put together a huge freshman campaign in 2012 as well, and heading into the fall, he is the SEC’s best receiver.
There are explosive players like Malcolm Mitchell at Georgia, and Amari Cooper at Alabama that will get a lot of attention, but they haven’t been the consistent force that Evans has been.
Cooper was dangerous a year ago, but he failed to make a catch against LSU and had five games with two or less catches. Mitchell was equally inconsistent.
Neither made the seasonal impact that Evans did last fall, and there is no other player in the conference that is flying under the radar that will make a bigger impact in 2013.
Manziel steals the spotlight in College Station, but that gives Evans the opportunity to work under the radar and free from focus.
He was the anchor for the Aggies' wide receiver corps, jumping onto the scene and catching 82 passes for 1,105 yards and five touchdowns. Ryan Swope was supposed to be the backbone of the offense, but he was unseated by Evans in short order.
He caught four or more passes in the every game in 2012, and he came down with six or more in nine-of-13 games.
The SEC is loaded with talented receivers and quarterbacks, but the Manziel-Evans duo will be the most dangerous in the league and possibly the country.
Evans quickly came to Manziel's aid in the first game of the season. The Aggies lost to Florida, but not before Evans was able to come down with six receptions for 60 yards against one of the best secondaries in the country.
The next week he caught six passes for 123 yards against SMU. He had arrived.
Against Alabama, Evans caught five passes. All five ended as first downs.
He was the primary target for Manziel in the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma, catching seven passes for 83 yards.
Evans is not a highlight-reel type of player, but he is consistent and knows how to battle for yards after the catch. He can easily handle 100 catches this year. With a 6’5” frame, he is a mix of a tight end and receiver, but his athleticism and cuts make him the perfect possession receiver.
For the Aggies to repeat 2012’s success, Evans has to improve on his impressive numbers. It will happen, and he will take over the conference’s top spot at receiver.
The key to Texas A&M becoming a title contender and living up to the hype from last year is Mike Evans.
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