Our next prospect interview is with Colorado safety Evan Worthington. Worthington is a talented athlete who excelled at CU the last two seasons.
Career Stats: 128 total tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 10 pass deflections, 4 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble in his final two years.
Worthington interviewed exclusively with Stampede Blue to talk about his team suspension in 2016, his development on and off the field since that suspension, and how he will translate to the NFL.
Zach Hicks: I know you grew up in the state of Colorado but how did you end up at Colorado University?
Evan Worthington: I just got an offer from them my junior year. So, Coach Mac (Mike MacIntyre) would always be at my school and he’d help me with my classes because my grades weren’t so good back then. Most schools that came to look at me told me that my transcripts were bad so they wouldn’t offer me.
Coach Mac, though, would help me and made sure I had the right classes so I could be on track to graduate and have the right GPA to get into CU. After all that, I just felt that it was the right place for me.
ZH: After you were enrolled at Colorado, you were suspended from the team in 2016 for violating team rules. We won’t go into the details of the suspension but how hard was it to be away from football for a year?
EW: It was real tough, especially when it hit me. It was during spring ball before the season even started so it really hit me hard because the season was already far away and I knew I couldn’t play in it. After that I just finished the semester of school with no football and then I went back home to Aurora and just started working.
ZH: The suspension, in a way, kind of changed you for the better. You returned in 2017 and made All-PAC 12 teams in both your junior and senior seasons along with being very active in community service. Do you feel as though the suspension helped turn things around for you?
EW: It definitely helped me. I learned not to take every day for granted. Before the suspension I was just... I lost the love for football. I even wanted to leave CU at a point. It was all frustrating for me. I forgot why I was even there and then once I lost it all, I realized how important football was for me. It really changed my life and I need to take full advantage of it.
ZH: Why were you so active in community service at Colorado?
EW: I just have a lot of people to give back to. It is just something we do at Colorado. They have places for us to go, they set us up with different activities and it is just something that we are encouraged to do.
ZH: That’s awesome man! Speaking of Colorado though, shifting our focus back to football, they have become a bit of a DBU in recent years with guys like Chidobe Awuzie, Ahkello Witherspoon, and Isaiah Oliver in recent years. What is in the water at Colorado to produce so many quality DBs?
EW: Coach Mac was always in the defensive back room with us and he was a great coach with us for that. He would tell us everything from different techniques and how to play different routes and all that.
We all bought into it. Just learning a lot from him really helped us a lot because he would spend most of his time with us. It would be tough at times but he definitely pushed us the most to be better.
ZH: You were invited to participate at the Shrine Game this year. How was that whole experience for you?
EW: It was a great experience for me, getting to talk to all the scouts about my story and all that. I got to explain to them how everything happened and then being able to play with the good players all around the country. I ended up getting hurt the third day of practice, it was a right ankle sprain that wasn’t too serious — just bad enough to shut it down — so I didn’t ruin my training before the combine.
ZH: Speaking of the combine, you were invited this year after overcoming so much adversity in your football career. What did it mean to you to get that invite?
EW: It was such an important moment for me because I was just wondering if I would get it. Just seeing that I got it, it just gave me a great opportunity to take advantage of.
I’m going to really show scouts my athletic ability and everything else I can do. Show some scouts that I’m actually fast because some people don’t believe that I’m fast so overall it is just a great opportunity for me.
** For context, Worthington ran a career best 11.03 second 100 meter dash in high school and was a two time All-Centennial performer in track. So yes, he’s fast.
ZH: Going to your tape, you have experience in single-high, slot corner, and even as a dime linebacker. What position do you feel most comfortable though?
EW: It doesn’t really matter to me. I like all of those spots, just anywhere on the football field, but I like single-high the most because I feel I’m most comfortable there.
ZH: What technique do you prefer to reach your landmarks as a safety? Like, do you prefer sprinting to a spot or backpedaling?
EW: It depends on the quarterback we were facing. For the faster guys, I’d like to play flat footed to make sure they aren’t doing a QB read or anything. For the more passing QBs, I’d like to sprint back and get to my landmark that way.
ZH: What do you believe to be your best trait going into the NFL?
EW: My versatility, I feel like I could play any position on a defense besides D-line (laughs).
ZH: Who in the NFL do you compare your game/ model your game after most?
EW: I wanna be like Kam Chancellor and how he was. I like Derwin James even though he was only a rookie. He’s a really good football player and I feel like I measure the same as him. Maybe like a Jamal Adams as well.
ZH: Last question for you. Why should my team draft Evan Worthington in this draft?
EW: I’m a reliable guy who proved it by turning myself around when I came back to Colorado. I’m a versatile athlete who can play anywhere on the field, whenever someone goes down, I could fill in at their spot. Wherever I am needed on the field, I could produce very well. I can make a ton of plays and I’m only getting better.