LACEY — Asan Neil-Evergin has called Lacey home for three years since moving from Kentucky with his family after his father, Army Sgt. 1st Class Cameron Evergin, got stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord as a helicopter specialist.
Yet his home on Timberline High School’s football team has been, well, anything but stable.
First, Neil-Evergin played at slot receiver, then defense mainly at free safety and finally special teams was his primary focus. A little of this, a little of that.
Need a position filled? Neil-Evergin has been coach Nick Mullen’s go-to guy, and he is perfectly fine with the role of Mr. Versatile.
“It was no problem going to free safety and shining there,” Neil-Evergin said. “Being a team player, that’s what you do. It was fun. Anywhere you put me, I’m a go-getter.”
Now entering his senior year and third season with the Blazers, Neil-Evergin’s mainstay will be in the backfield, his natural position, and a spot he played sparingly behind two-time 3A Narrows League offense MVP Spencer Crump, in addition to cornerback and a punt and kickoff return specialist.
Mullen said Neil-Evergin will get 20 touches a game, failing to go into specifics on where he’ll get those touches.
“We’re going to put him in the best position to have success,” Mullen said. “When he’s in open space, he’ll make plays.”
Neil-Evergin’s name might not be familiar to the common football fan, but that likely will change. A big spring and summer filled with high school combines
led to his first scholarship offer — from
Football Championship Subdivision school Eastern Washington — after the 5-foot-9, 175-pounder put on a defensive display on Mercer Island. He also represented the United States at an international track and field meet in Australia in the long jump, triple jump, sprints and relays. For Mullen, it’s all packaged as a sign of things to come for the senior.
“This is his year,” Mullen said.
Quarterback Gabriel Gutierrez, back from a broken throwing arm that ended his sophomore season, praised Neil-Evergin as a natural leader.
“He works his tail off and leads by example,” Gutierrez said. “He’s always been like that.”
Thanks to recent youth coaching jobs with Black Hills Junior Football and the Thurston County Youth Football League, Neil-Evergin has viewed football from the outside looking in, which he says has already made a world of difference as a player back on the field.
“That’s helped me see more toward the game and how it looks to coaches,” he said. “... I’m ready for anything.”Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/southsoundsports @MegWochnick