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LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Prior to Nico Evans coming to the University of Wyoming to play football, he never had hamstring injuries.
The running back from Los Angeles redshirted as a freshman in 2014 with the Cowboys and still had no hamstring problems. But in spring 2015, Evans injured his hamstring. He also had the same injury when fall camp started that year.
"It slowed me down a lot, and I couldn't prove what I could do," Evans said.
Evans played in 10 games last season and had 14 carries for 56 yards. He also had two kickoff returns for 21 yards.
"I needed to get in the ice tubs a lot and start stretching more," Evans said about preventing more hamstring problems. "When I wasn't at practice, I was in the training room."
So far, that strategy has worked.
Evans has been healthy throughout fall camp and is competing for the No. 3 running back spot behind junior Brian Hill and senior Shaun Wick.
Evans and redshirt freshman Milo Hall are the two guys behind Hill and Wick right now, and both are expected to play this season.
So far, third-year coach Craig Bohl likes what he sees from Evans.
"Nico has put on good weight," Bohl said. "He's a smart, bright guy, and his learning curve is pretty steep. His hands have gotten better. He's picked up a little step in terms of speed."
Evans is 5-foot-9 and came to UW weighing 180 pounds. He's now 207. Hill recently described Evans' body transformation as "all jacked up."
"It's a good 207, and I have to give a shout-out to coach Dennison," Hill said, referring to first-year UW football strength coach Russell Dennison.
Added Evans: "I haven't lost any speed, and I feel strong. I'm able to push defenders off me, and I still can carry the load."
How much of that load remains to be seen.
Hill averaged 23.4 carries per game last season as he set a UW single-season record with 1,631 yards. No other running back on the team averaged more than six carries per game.
UW would like to spread those carries out more this season and hopefully improve the running game with a more efficient and productive passing game.
Whether he runs the ball, catches it or returns it on special teams, Evans just wants to remain healthy so he can continue to show what he can do when he's at full strength.
"In my mind, I can contribute a lot, and I will do everything I can to get on the field," Evans said.
Even if that means more time in the ice tubs and stretching.
Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, http://www.wyomingnews.com
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