BOULDER - Head coach Mike MacIntyre loves himself a good adversity story. He has reiterated the importance of overcoming it when it comes to building character. One of the best adversity stories on the 2017 Colorado Buffaloes is that of Evan Worthington, formerly known as Evan White.
“[Worthington] was going through a lot in life,” MacIntyre explained. “There was a family change in there as you can see with the name, a lot of different things going on.”
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound safety was dismissed from the team before the 2016 season for violating team rules. Worthington was expected to be a starter and a big time contributor in 2016 after two very productive seasons. He was attributed with 33 tackles with the Buffaloes and he wasn’t able to be a part of The Rise.
“It was definitely terrible watching it,” Worthington said. “I love watching my teammates succeed and everything but, you know, being out for a whole year is terrible. Just the worst feeling ever. It just makes you real hungry and ready to come back.”
The redshirt junior rejoined the team in the spring and has made a glaring transformation according to MacIntyre.
“I see a kid that left as a confused 19-year-old that came back as a mature 20-year-old," MacIntyre said.
The 21-year-old has not only grown mentally but physically as well. He has the type of stature that fits perfectly for MacIntyre’s new buff back position. It’s a position that’s currently taken by Ryan Moeller, but it’s definitely a place where they’ve been also trying out Worthington.
“Yeah I like playing it and I’m definitely learning it too,” the Colorado native said. “They’ve just been throwing me everywhere that they want me to go. So wherever they put me, I’m just going to ball out.”
There are plenty of areas we can expect to see Worthington balling out in 2017 because if he’s anywhere near the level that he was when he left, all indications are that he’s grown, the coaches will be forced to put him out there to make plays.
Worthington stepped away and was able to get a different view and it made him realize how important his football career really is to him.
“I learned a whole lot,” Worthington said. “It changes your whole perception on everything. When you’re just sitting at home like is this what you really want to be doing outside of football like I don’t want to be doing this, I want to play football for the rest of my life.”
MacIntyre talks about players going through adversity a lot but it’s easy to tell how excited he is about the maturity of Worthington. He put the situation in a way that very few could.
“He understood that his chance at life is this opportunity," he said. "He’s blessed with what he’s done. He’s doing great in school, doing great on the football field and doing great off of the field. So I see a kid that grew up, that learned from it and took it. Some people don’t do that, some people start pouting and blaming it on everybody else. He didn’t, he looked inside and he’s really grown and it’s really exciting for me and for all of the players around too. And I’m excited for Evan Worthington.”