Of all the undrafted free agents collected by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011, the one who's garnered the most attention has been former Kentucky DE DeQuin Evans. Evans "has impressed with his speed rush and exhaustive study habits," wrote Geoff Hobson, site editor at Bengals.com, and Cincinnati Enquirer Bengals beat writer Joe Reedy tapped him as the undrafted rookie with the best chance of making the roster.
All this is even more impressive when you realize that Evans didn't even start playing until 2007. And that his first experience with the game came while he was in juvenile detention in California.
At 15, he was stopped in a stolen car that had been related to gang activity.
His sentence: 16 months in a juvenile detention facility.
He was sent to Camp Kilpatrick in Malibu, where the rehabilitation program included football.
In games where a player from one gang might be opposite or next to a player from a rival gang, things got rough. Fights were common.
The 2006 movie The Gridiron Gang was based on Camp Kilpatrick. After he was released, a cousin pointed him toward football, but Evans spent six months training on his own first before approaching Los Angeles Harbor Junior College. And that work ethic has served him well over the past few weeks.
"He's got a lot of new positions to learn," Coach Marvin Lewis said. "His effort is outstanding. He just has to keep coming and developing, and we'll see what happens. But it won't be because he didn't try at it, whether it be at the linebacker spots or down at the rusher in our substituted defenses or whatever his role is on special teams. He's a good prospect and hopefully he continues to grow and can do some things."
Read the whole thing. Here's hoping he makes it.
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