HOUSTON – Fort Bend Dulles coach Jim Creech knows that sometimes being a great sprinter doesn't translate into success on the football field.
That's not the case with Sheroid Evans.
Evans is a champion sprinter, having won the state titles in both the 100 (10.39 seconds) and 200 meter (20.82) races in the highest classification in Texas this spring. He also took first in the 400-meter hurdles (50.55) in the USA Junior Outdoor Championships this summer.
"You can't coach what he's got and that's just pure speed," Creech said. "We're talking about world class speed, state championship speed. But he'll be the first to tell you that he's a football player who runs track instead of a track guy who plays football."
He'll play defensive back in college, likely at Texas, but for now, the Dulles football team is using him in plenty of other ways, too. Along with his defensive duties, he also plays wide receiver, returns kicks and lines up at running back when they're in their two-back set.
"So he does a lot for us," Creech said. "He doesn't get off the field much."
Creech got the first taste of Evans' football chops when he saw him play as a freshman. Evans was at free safety on an isolation play inside the tackle and blew through the fullback before taking the running back down for a short gain.
"Most defensive backs at that age and especially kids whose whole adolescence has been spent running track and not so much playing football, wouldn't have stayed up in there like that," Creech said. "That was one of those: 'Wow did you see that?' moments. You can't teach kids to want to hit. Fortunately for us, he's one of those kids who will stick his helmet in there and get it done."
Creech said Evans is so fast that defenses have to figure different angles to use to try to get to him before he breaks away for a big gain. He has also been able to use his speed to make up for his mistakes as he refines his skills in the secondary.
In the team's first game last season, he moved up to defend a halfback pass, but the passer threw long instead. The receiver caught the ball and had about a 15-yard lead on Evans, but the star linebacker caught up, stripped the ball and forced a turnover.
"You can't coach that," Creech said. "You can coach not making that same mistake, but to be able to regroup and do what he did is unbelievable."
(This version CORRECTS typo in long headline to 'sprinter')