A humble, soft-spoken (sometimes) young man with a wide smile, Maurice Evans humbled the opposition throughout what was an impressive first season as a starter. A product of Joe Paterno's hometown, Evans won a starting assignment at defensive end prior to the 2007 season, moving into a unit that returned just one starter. He was a one-man wrecking crew throughout the season, recording a sack in each of the first three games en route to first-team All-Big Ten honors from the media and coaches. Evans emerged as one of the nation's top defensive linemen, being selected one of eight finalists for the 2007 Ted Hendricks Defensive End Award. He played a critical role in helping the Nittany Lions rank No. 2 in the nation in sacks and No. 7 in rushing defense. Evans was selected a first-team preseason All-American by Athlon and second-team by Phil Steele's 2008 College Football. A candidate for the 2008 Rotary Lombardi, Bronko Nagurski and Hendricks awards, Evans is an immensely talented and athletic player that loves to compete. The strong and instinctive Brooklyn product has a non-stop motor who puts pressure on the quarterback and is a disruptive force at the line of scrimmage. A highly skilled playmaker, Evans has great speed and always is around the ball. Last year, he was second in the conference in tackles for losses (No. 6 in the nation) with 21.5 for minus-117 yards. He was third in the Big Ten in sacks (No. 8 nationally) with 12.5 for minus-94 yards. His 12.5 sacks ranked No. 4 on the Penn State season list and his 21.5 TFL were No. 5 in school annals. Evans also was second in the Big Ten with five forced fumbles. A U.S. Army All-American at Christ The King HS, Evans will play a significant role in the success of the defense the next two seasons. The vibrant and engaging Evans is one of seven returning Nittany Lions from New York.
2007 Sophomore Season
Evans earned a starting berth in the spring and emerged as one of the nation's top defensive linemen in just his second season. He was selected one of eight finalists for the 2007 Ted Hendricks Defensive End Award. He recorded a sack in each of the first three games en route to first-team All-Big Ten honors from the media and coaches. He played a critical role in helping the Nittany Lions rank No. 2 in the nation in sacks and No. 7 in rushing defense. Evans was second in the conference in tackles for losses (No. 6 in the nation) with 21.5 for minus-117 yards. He was third in the Big Ten in sacks (No. 8 nationally) with 12.5 for minus-94 yards. His 12.5 sacks ranked No. 4 on the Penn State season list and his 21.5 TFL were No. 5 in school annals. The quick and athletic Evans also was second in the Big Ten with five forced fumbles. For the season, he was fifth on the squad with 54 tackles (31 solo) and also had three pass breakups. Evans delivered one of Penn State's most impressive individual defensive efforts in the Big Ten era in the big win at Indiana to earn Big Ten Defensive Player-of-the-Week accolades. He made six stops (five solo) and recorded a career-high 3.5 sacks for a loss of 36 yards. Evans made a total of 4.5 TFL (minus-38 yards) and forced two fumbles, one on a sack, which he picked up and returned 55 yards to the Indiana 13 to set up a field goal, losing a shoe as he chugged downfield. His other fumble hit also set up a fourth-quarter field goal and he broke up one pass. In his first career start, Evans had a sack against Florida International. In the 31-10 thumping of Notre Dame, he had 2.0 TFL, including a sack for nine yards. At Michigan, he recorded a career-best nine tackles, including a game and then career-high four TFL to help hold the Wolverines to 14 points. In the 27-7 win over Iowa, he recorded four tackles, with two sacks for minus-10 yards in helping limit the Hawkeyes to eight first downs and 194 total yards. Evans recorded three solo tackles, all of which were TFL (minus-22), including two sacks for minus-14 yards in the 38-7 victory over No. 19 Wisconsin. In the Senior Day win over Purdue, Evans made six tackles (four solo), recording two sacks for minus-nine yards and forced a fumble. In the Valero Alamo Bowl, Evans tallied six hits (four solo) and forced two fumbles, one of which was recovered at the Texas A&M 11 to set up the tying score in the second quarter. He was on the field for 749 snaps, led by 76 against Indiana and Ohio State.
2006 Freshman Season
Evans played in every game, quickly becoming an important member of Penn State's Top 15 nationally ranked defense. The Sporting News recognized him as a first-team Freshman All-Big Ten honoree. He made 12 tackles (seven solo), recording 3.5 tackles for minus-10 yards and 1.5 sacks. Evans made a tackle for loss at No. 4 Notre Dame. Against Youngstown State, he recorded a season-high three tackles, including one tackle for minus-five yards. Evans delivered three stops and a team-leading 1.5 sacks against Northwestern and had two tackles in the shutout of Temple. He was on the field for 162 plays, led by 20 snaps against Youngstown State and 18 versus Illinois.
A first-team all-state selection at Christ The King HS, Evans was ranked the nation's No. 6 defensive end by Scout.com. Coached by Kevin Kelly, he recorded 92 tackles, four sacks and four fumble recoveries as a senior and was first-team CHSAA all-conference. Evans fleshed out his accomplishments by being named a U.S. Army All-American, joining future Penn State teammates Chris Bell, Jared Odrick and A.J. Wallace at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.
Full name is Maurice D. Evans. He is enrolled in the Division of Undergraduate Studies. Born August 14, 1988.