Herd's Evans ready for a fresh start
HUNTINGTON -- From head to toe, Demetrius Evans wanted a fresh start.
"I changed everything," the Marshall receiver said after Tuesday's final padded practice before Saturday's Green-White spring game. "I got a new number, helmet, cleats, socks."
The number change, Evans insists, had nothing to do with the burden of wearing No. 88.
"It wasn't the pressure of trying to live up to the legacy of Randy Moss," he said.
Evans, a 6-foot-2, 191-pounder from Belle Glade, Fla., simply wanted to outrun the setbacks of his first two seasons at Marshall.
He caught six passes for 51 yards as a true freshman in 2010, but offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum sidelined him last spring.
Evans worked his way back to full health for the 2011 season, but he suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Southern Mississippi, the second game of the season. He injured the knee making his only catch of the season, a 21-yarder from quarterback Rakeem Cato in the first quarter.
Evans watched from the sidelines the rest of the season.
Now he wears No. 4, the number vacated by outgoing receiver Troy Evans.
"I was injured my freshman year and then my sophomore year," Demetrius Evans said. "I wanted something new, something to change the image and change the luck. I needed refreshed."
Evans is behind senior Aaron Dobson on the depth chart, but the coaching staff often opts to preserve Dobson, which gives Evans more opportunities with the first team. That, receivers coach Gerad Parker said, has helped Evans get acclimated after missing all of last spring and most of last season with injuries.
"You could tell at the beginning of spring he hadn't played much football," Parker said. "He's had a tough road, but he's healthy now. He's a strong kid and a kid we believe in.
"He's a totally different kid at the end of the spring from the start."
Marshall filed paperwork to get Evans a medical redshirt for last season. That will make him a redshirt sophomore in the fall and give him three years of eligibility.
"I've tried to stay positive through all of this," Evans said. "I'm better mentally because of it and now I'm 100 percent healthy."
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SOPHOMORE defensive back Phillip Warren was dismissed from the Marshall football program Tuesday morning.
The 5-10, 189-pound defensive back was arrested and charged Sunday with battery on police, disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer. According to Captain Alan Rohrig of the Huntington Police Department, Warren, 20, punched a police officer in the face.
The school announced the dismissal in a release at 10:44 a.m. Tuesday.
Three other Marshall football players were arrested in connection with the same incident outside of The Thirsty Whale on Sunday morning.
Senior running back Martin Ward, freshman cornerback Corie Wilson and freshman linebacker Stefone Grace also were arrested and charged, but on lesser offenses. Holliday said those players would remain with the program and face discipline internally.
Ward, 22, was charged with disorderly conduct. Wilson, 21, was charged with obstructing an officer and fleeing on foot. Grace, 19, was charged with obstructing an officer and disorderly conduct.
Ward, of Jonesboro, Ga., was the Herd's leading rusher in 2010 and earned Little Caesars Bowl MVP honors in 2009.
Wilson, of Miami, redshirted last season.
Grace, of Cincinnati, enrolled at Marshall in January after grayshirting (delayed enrollment).
Warren, a Miami native who initially signed with Texas Tech out of Southridge High School, played in 12 of 13 games last season and made 26 tackles. He had half of those tackles (13) in the Herd's 34-27 win over East Carolina in the 2011 regular-season finale. He also had a forced fumble in that game, which gave the program conditional bowl eligibility.
Holliday said there'd be no further comment on the matter.
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BYRON LEFTWICH is a late scratch from Friday's Big Green Banquet.
The former Herd quarterback will not attend the annual fundraising, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. inside the on-campus Student Recreation Center.
The event, called "An Evening with the Pros," will be hosted by Chad Pennington. Other NFL players scheduled to attend are Ahmad Bradshaw, Daniel Baldridge, Chris Crocker, Doug Legursky and Chris Massey.
The banquet is sold out.
Contact sportswriter Chuck McGill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall.