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For Virginia Tech's Darren Evans, there's more to life than football

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 24, 2010; 11:16 PM

IN BLACKSBURG, VA. Darren Evans was too embarrassed to tell people about his new job. Already homesick as a Virginia Tech freshman, he didn't like working the night shift at a Wendy's on campus, where his main responsibility was to mop the floors.

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"I hate cleaning up, especially other people's messes," said Evans, who was then just a year removed from setting an Indiana state record for touchdowns.

Now a redshirt junior running back at Virginia Tech, Evans, 21, has always had a job in the offseason, an anomaly in the world of college football, where year-round workouts consume players' lives.

After setting the Virginia Tech freshman rushing record in 2008, Evans worked at a company that cleaned up hazardous waste in his home town of Indianapolis. The next summer, he delivered office supplies around the Blacksburg area. He washed dishes at a local restaurant this past summer.

None of these jobs qualifies as an internship for his ultimate goal - playing in the NFL - but Evans's concerns are not limited to his football development: He's recently married and the father of a 3-year-old son. When the Hokies open ACC play against Boston College on Saturday, Evans likely will start at tailback for the first time since tearing an ACL last year, but at the end of the day, what he does on the field won't define his entire life.

"I've never seen a more well-rounded person in terms of handling all those responsibilities," fullback Kenny Younger said. "At this age in college, it's hard enough going to class and showing up for practice, let alone the responsibility of having a child and a significant other like that. It's unbelievable that he's able to do as well as he does."

Not 'a deadbeat dad'

In the early afternoon on Nov. 29, 2006, Warren Central High School football coach Steve Tutsie sat in a passenger seat and gave driving directions to Virginia Tech running backs coach Billy Hite. When the car arrived at a hospital, Hite wondered, "What's wrong?"

"Darren wants to be the one to tell you," Tutsie replied.

Hite was taken to the maternity ward and into a room filled with Evans's family and the family of his future wife. Aunts, uncles and cousins all surrounded Taneesha Evans, then Darren's girlfriend, as she prepared to give birth to James Evans.

"Here she is laying in the bed, in labor, and I'm having a home visit about Virginia Tech talking to both sides of the family," said Hite, shaking his head and laughing.

Evans, meantime, was just excited he could tell Hite about his situation face-to-face. Though he couldn't stop thinking about what his new son would look like, Hite's presence that day ultimately persuaded Evans to come to Virginia Tech.

Otherwise, it had been a tough nine months for the star running back, as his family came to grips with the fact that Darren Evans was going to be a father at the age of 18.

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