At around 3:36 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, Tennessee running back Tiyon Evans sat atop the field wall in Neyland Stadium, surrounded by his family, holding his son in his lap.
The game hadn’t even been over for more than five minutes or so, and Evans had already found his family and was holding his child. The moment of a father and son laughing and smiling after a Tennessee win is one Evans feels blessed to have.
“Coming from where I come from, you don’t see stuff like that every day,” Evans said on Tuesday. “It was just a blessing to be able and run-up, physically hold my son, and take pictures with my uniform on with my family and all that. So yeah, I’m blessed for that moment.”
For Evans, he says that his family is his greatest motivation, “most of all”. So, finding his son in the crowd after the game was like muscle memory.
“That’s my number one priority,” Evans said about his family. “I’m not only an image of me. I’m an image of them, too. So what I do is not only going to affect me but also them, so yeah.
However, Evans isn’t just thinking about how his son will grow up around the game and under the lights. Instead, Evans is trying to give his son something more than just fun memories. So he is focusing on providing him what he needed early on in his own life: guidance.
“Me? I didn’t grow up around all of this,” Evans said to the media in Knoxville. “It was a rough road, early years in my life, and I feel like I could have used some guidance. So that’s what I’m trying to do with my son. I’m going to start early, getting him aware of all of this going on. So when it’s time for him to make his own decisions, he will have that [ability].”
Evans was born in Hartsville, South Carolina, and was a graduate of Hartsville high school. On Tuesday, Tiyon also spoke about his mother, Johnette Evans, who helped guide him in life and keep him on the right path.
“My Mom, most of all,” said Evans. “And [various] coaches throughout the whole time.”
Evans, a transfer player from Hutchinson Community College, is playing in his first year with Tennessee. Through three games, though, Evans looks like a player that was built for the SEC. While the scope is limited, Evans has flashed moves resembling Alvin Kamara back in the day, both running the ball and catching it out of the backfield. Through four games, Evans has 211 rushing yards on 42 attempts and two touchdown scores. In addition, Evans also has four catches for 74 yards, including the second-longest touchdown connection of the season (47-yards, at Florida). And that is without playing against Pittsburgh.