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Alabama LB Rashaan Evans to be “next man up,” following an SEC title win over Florida

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

He recorded the lone two sacks of Clemson’s signal caller Deshaun Watson in last season’s College Football Playoff national title game and now, Rashaan Evans is faced with an opportunity to build off his postseason heroics. With Shaun Dion Hamilton (knee) likely to miss the playoff, more reps await Evans in Alabama’s variety of nickel and dime packages. Known for his speed on the edge, Evans kept Florida’s run game in check.

He assisted the Crimson Tide in not giving up a yard on 30 carries. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 231 pounds, the five-star linebacker secured three total tackles and was behind a critical goal line stand in the third quarter.

Despite having the ball inside the one-yard line, Gators’ running back Jordan Scarlett could not break the plane for a touchdown. Channeling his inner Barry Krauss (1979 vs. Penn State), Evans exploded off the ball and nailed Scarlett in the backfield. Da’Shawn Hand would help with the matter, forcing a fourth and goal.

What could have been a 33-23 game entering the fourth quarter remained at 33-16, after Florida was stoned at the goal line. Evans’ impact sparked Alabama’s offense, which scored touchdowns on its next three possessions (two in fourth quarter) in a 54-16 win. As the No. 1 seed, the Tide is scheduled play against Washington in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 31. Until then, rest and recovery will be on the platter for the Alabama. For Evans, a chance to disrupt one of the nation’s top passing offenses is in his grasp.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama MagazineYou can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

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