Harvard-bound Brashear lineman making the grade on and off the field
Scott Evans wanted to add to his 6-foot, 150-pound frame and spent the bulk of his freshman year at Brashear snacking his way to a typical defensive lineman's weight.
But instead of taking a protein supplement or loading up on eggs, Evans would set his alarm clock for 3 a.m., have a peanut-butter sandwich and a glass of milk and go back to bed.
“I can't even eat peanut butter anymore,” Evans said. “I think I'm permanently sick of it.”
Little about Evans — now 6-3, 250 — is conventional for a high school kid, and that includes his college choice. The senior lineman will play next season at Harvard, putting him in a rare group to have gone from the City League to the Ivy League.
“He's a tremendous worker with everything that he does,” Brashear coach Rick Murphy said. “He'll be a three-year starter. He's probably had one ‘B.' We've actually had to talk to him about over-training because he'll lift after school, then go to the gym two or three nights a week.
“Everything he does he tries to do it as well as he can.”
At a time when Pittsburgh's public education system seems to come under constant scrutiny, Scott and Maureen Evans, a Pittsburgh homicide detective and a preschool teacher from Sheraden, never seriously thought about sending their oldest son to private school.
“I don't feel it's the responsibility of the school to teach my children,” Scott Evans said. “I think it's our responsibility as parents to teach our children.
“Obviously the school's there, but we feel as parents that we're a large part of our kids' education. It doesn't matter whether it's Brashear, Perry, Seton, Canevin or Central Catholic.”
Maureen Evans taught Scott, the oldest of the Evans' three kids, study habits from an early age. Sometimes that meant her son wouldn't touch a weight until 9 p.m. — when he was done with his homework.
Maureen and Scott Evans — both college athletes, Maureen a basketball player at Monmouth, Scott playing football at Northeastern — researched elementary schools and sent Scott to Pittsburgh Allegheny K-5, an upscale magnet school.
“The city teachers are wonderful,” Maureen Evans said. “They've done so much. They're willing to stay after school to help. They're willing to come in early. I don't know why people don't give them more credit.”
Evans has a 3.97 grade-point average, the result of the one ‘B' Murphy pointed out. That jumps to 4.67 when considering the seven Advanced Placement classes Evans has taken the past two years. He scored 1,870 on the three-part SATs.
Outside of the classroom, Evans enjoys reading books about the Revolutionary War, obsesses over Navy Seals and modern military tactics and shuns Twitter.
“I try not to say too much because people really make fools of themselves on there,” Evans said.
Not that Evans, whose favorite book is “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10” by Marcus Luttrell, is solely a brainiac.
Forced into playing center during a Week 2 loss to Perry because of an injury to a teammate, Evans didn't miss a beat blocking-wise and made a heads-up play late in the first half that may have saved a touchdown.
After an interception, the horn at Cupples Stadium sounded, and several players stopped. Perry's Antoine Long looked like he might break free. Evans kept pursuit and brought down Long.
“He's just like any other kid, except for the fact that he's really bright,” Murphy said of Evans, who wants to major in engineering at Harvard. “Not only is he very intelligent, but he's willing to put in the work to get there.”
Murphy said that Evans' intellect often shines through whenever they're figuring out blocking assignments, something Evans rarely struggles to comprehend.
Evans, for his part, views football the way any smart kid would.
“It's kind of like a chess game when you go against an offensive tackle,” said Evans, who's schedule consists of Spanish IV, Calculus and AP psychology, among other classes. “Throughout the game, you analyze his tendencies, and you analyze the tendencies of the running back and quarterback. Sometimes you're able to predict the play before it happens.”
Still, even though Evans is probably one of the few high school football players who could carry on a conversation about Nostradamus, even he couldn't have seen such a transformation coming his freshman year.
Stick thin back then, Evans benched 225 pounds 16 times at Harvard's summer camp a few months ago. He can bench press a max of 315, he deadlifts 415 and can squat 370.
“It's all about developing habits,” Maureen Evans said. “Just like football, it's not all about football; it's about life lessons and teaching them to work hard.”