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Five-a-Side: New Hampshire's Matt Evans

Sun 5th, August 2012

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It's no surprise linebacker Matt Evans is majoring in business administration at the University of New Hampshire.

Oh, sure, he can be a typical college senior, hanging with friends, rooting for New England sports teams, letting loose for a good time.

But Evans is a goal-oriented, all-business kind of player, if not person. He's considered the best linebacker in the Football Championship Subdivision.

He roams the field freely as if he has an EZPass to move past anything that tries to slow him down. Last year, he collected the most tackles in the nation during the regular season, including 24 against Lehigh, and then ranked second overall following the playoffs, with nearly 13.8 tackles per game.

The 6-foot, 226-pound Evans, from Hanover, Mass., went from finishing fourth as a sophomore in the voting for the 2010 Buck Buchanan Award to winning it last season as a junior.

This season, he returns to the Wildcats lineup as a senior with the opportunity to become only the second two-time winner of the FCS defensive player of the year award. Appalachian State linebacker Dexter Coakley won back-to-back Buchanans in the first two years of the award in 1995-96.

In Five-a-Side - In the FCS Huddle's monthly feature of "five questions, five answers" with an influential person in the FCS - Evans discusses the Buchanan Award as well as the season ahead.

Let's kick off:

TSN: Matt, can you talk about the opportunity to be only the second two-time winner of the Buck Buchanan Award this year?

ME: It's a great opportunity, I'm lucky, I guess. One year left. It's a great opportunity. If it happens, great. But I'm more focused on the team and how we do this year and how well our defense does.

TSN: Did winning the Buck Buchanan Award last year earn more respect from your teammates or do they give you a hard time about it now?

ME: They definitely give me a hard time. My roommate every day reminds me so.

TSN: How about this offseason, what have you worked on to improve as a player?

ME: I've been in the weight room basically every day just trying to get my body stronger, work on footwork. Camp's about to hit, so (I need to) get back into studying film and just getting into football shape. I'm looking forward to that.

TSN: And camp, obviously, leads into the season. During the season, what are some of your pre-game rituals? Are you superstitious at all?

ME: Yeah, I'm very superstitious. I stretch in the same spot, basically do the same things before each game. Pretty superstitious with that and a lot of different things.

TSN: How good can this season before for New Hampshire?

ME: Very good. I think we're more experienced this year and our defense is going to improve, our offense has a lot of firepower, so I think we should be pretty good.

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