Curtric Evans’s grandfather started calling him “Spiffy” when he was a youngster, and the nickname stuck. This was fine with Evans and his family. But no one bothered to explain to Evans exactly why.
“I thought it was cool, but I didn’t know what it meant when I was a kid,” said the Boston College sophomore wide receiver. “Now that I know what it means, I like it.”
In his youth, he often donned eccentric clothes, augmenting his sense of style with a hat.
“He started calling me that when I was about 7 years old,” Evans said of his grandfather. “My taste in clothes was part of it. He had seen something in me that was unique.”
Then there is Evans’s sneaker collection — hundreds of them, some that cost hundreds of dollars.
“It’s a passion,” Evans said of his shoe stash, which is divided among his dorm room, his home in Hollywood, Fla., and other places. “It’s almost to 600.
“I don’t have a lot of them here, maybe close to 100. They are everywhere, under the bed, in the closet, on my roommates’ side of the room. Some are in storage, I keep some at my older cousin’s house, my brother’s house.”
His favorite pair?
“I have to say the Space Jams,” Evans said. “I grew up watching the movie and I was in high school, I think, when they finally released them. There was a limited amount and I had to camp out for a while at the store in Miami to get them. How long? It was 48 hours.’’
The retail price for the Space Jams was $600, Evans said.
Then there are the Flu Games, commemorating Michael Jordan playing through an illness. Christmas edition shoes. Retro styles.
“They are priceless to me,” Evans said. “If it ever comes to it, if I get older and stop loving sneakers, I might sell them off or give them to someone who will appreciate them. But I have them strictly to wear them.”
On the field, Evans separates himself with speed and a knack for kick returns.
In BC’s 34-3 win over Maine last week, Evans was involved in the longest gains of the game, both in the third quarter. He caught a 36-yard pass from Chase Rettig, the Eagles’ longest play from scrimmage in two games, and scored on an 82-yard punt return. Evans also scored on a 3-yard pass from Rettig in the second quarter.
“When I first got here, we were a run-first team,” Evans said. “But now the coaches tell [the receivers] we’re the most important part of the team. Not to overshadow anyone else, but they tell us to make sure to do our job, make sure we make the team look good, the offense look good, Chase look good.”
Evans’s scoring return was BC’s longest punt return since Jamal Burke’s 83-yarder against Virginia Tech in 2002.
“In high school, that was my role, to spark the team, on special teams, as well as on offense,” Evans said. “We can add that to our offense.
“I always loved special teams. You’re a target back there. Once you get the ball, they are all gunning for you. You have to elude the tackler. It’s a spark that gets me going on offense.”
Evans was barely involved in the BC offense last season, mostly performing on special teams. In 10 games, he caught no passes, but returned 23 kicks for 485 yards (21.1 yard average), with a long of 32.
“He played last year as a true freshman and we probably would have liked to redshirt him,” BC coach Frank Spaziani said. “This is the time guys have to start to come into their own, their second or third year, and he certainly played well last week. Now, the next step is to consistently play well. That’s what we need to see, him doing it and doing it again.
“He’s got the talent, he’s got the gift, and now he’s got to mature and use it. As I’ve said throughout the whole year, we like our receivers. We’ve upgraded there and some of these guys are coming into their own.
“It’s encouraging to see Spiffy do that, along with Alex [Amidon] and a couple guys.”
The Eagles are attempting to build momentum with Saturday’s game at Northwestern. They have not won consecutive games since the 2010 season.
“We look at it just like every other game,” Evans said. “Maine was just as important as Miami and Northwestern is just as important. Our goal is to win.
“Coach says if you have a good week of practice, that doesn’t guarantee you will win; but, without it, you don’t have a chance.
“We’ve had a good week of practice and we are preparing ourselves to win.”