Little Known Man Played Big RoleMay 9th, 2014
Few people in the state of Florida have heard of a guy by the name of David Suggs. But he could become a critical figure for the Bucs if coach Lovie Smith can turn around a once proud franchise.
Suggs resides in the Galveston, Tex. region that produced new Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans. And because Suggs was a persistent fellow, not taking “no” for an answer, the Bucs could have their hands on the NFL’s next dynamic receiver.
Attending Galveston Ball High School, Evan was a basketball stud. He didn’t play football. The NBA was his goal, not the NFL. But Suggs, the football coach, and his staff hounded and hounded and hounded the hulking Evans before, finally, Suggs and his staff wore him down. Evans, in his senior season, decided to try out for football.
Now, he is the seventh pick in the 2014 NFL draft — and the hope of all Bucs fans for a brighter future.
“He originally decided to stay with basketball,” Suggs told Joshua Siegel of AggieSports.com. “And then he finally got tired of me and the other coaches trying to get him, and he decided to come out.
“We bugged him all the time. If it wasn’t me, it was my defensive coordinator ,and if it wasn’t him, it was the offensive coordinator. He was getting double- and triple-teamed all just to give him more opportunities to come out and offer him a chance to play at the collegiate level and give him more options.”
It wasn’t just Suggs and his staff who hounded Evans to play football, so too did his many friends, most of whom also played football.
“All my friends wanted me to play football,” Evans said.
It wasn’t like Evans was new to football. He played football in middle school with one game sticking out in his memory, for all the wrong reasons. The same day his father, Mike, Sr., died, Evans played in a game.
“I fumbled,” Evans remembered.
Evans was equally as good of a basketball player as he was a football player. He quickly stood out on the field, as a receiver, naturally, and was still undecided what path to take when choosing a college.
“It was 50/50,” Evans said. “Either I was going to play basketball or football.”
That decision came when he visited College Station, Tex., home of the Texas A&M Aggies.
“I fell in love with it,” Evans said. So much so that Evans turned down a basketball scholarship at the University of Texas.
Basketball was now in Evans’ past.
Evans still has a spot in his heart for basketball, even wearing basketball shoes along with his stylish three-piece suit in his first appearance at One Buc Palace today, sort of a neo-David Letterman style.
Evans, who admitted he has not slept since Wednesday evening, noted the past couple of days have been a whirlwind, beginning with a hospital visit for children in New York with fellow draftees, then flying to Tampa today and now, learning about his new home.
It’s a journey started by a man named “Suggs.” And it may turn out that Bucs fans will someday be very indebted to Suggs’ determination and persistence to turn a basketball player into a football player.