A full-time varsity starter sinch his sophomore season, Engram has played a key role in the Hawks’ growing success the past couple of seasons.
At 6-foot-4 and weighing 210 pounds, Engram garners a lot of attention from opposing coaches and defensive backs attempting to eliminate his big-play ability.
Guarding Engram tonight will be Pebblebrook, which takes on Hillgrove in a Region 4AAAAAA battle at Cobb Energy/Hillgrove Stadium.
Denying Engram a prominent role in the Hawks’ offense will be difficult. Just last season, he caught 18 passes for 282 yards and four touchdowns as Hillgrove, which was primarily a running team, finished 11-1 with a region championship and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs.
This year, the Hawks are using more of a spread offense that has already paid big dividends for the speedy wideout. Engram has already totaled 12 receptions for 335 yards and three scores and he has a verbal commitment to play at Ole Miss.
Engram likes what he brings to the field for every Hillgrove game.
“I’m very physical,” he said. “I’m able to go inside and block cornerbacks. I can throw them around because of my size and strength. I have good hands. Plus, I think I have pretty good speed, and I ran a 4.57 40-yard dash. I feel like I can bring anything down that’s thrown in my direction.”
Engram’s production has varied over the years, much like his quarterbacks and the success of the program. As a sophomore, Gage Henry proved to be a strong signal-caller who anchored Hillgrove’s strong running game en route to a state quarterfinal appearance.
Last year, Engram took the same approach with quarterback Elijah Ironside and running back Kenyan Drake. However, this season, his numbers are improving as Hillgrove has turned into more of a spread offense led by Troy Thompson.
“We leaned a lot on Kenyan last year,” Hillgrove coach Phil Ironside said. “Now, we’re running more of a spread offense, and (Engram’s) presence give us more to see.”
Most of Engrams’ success has come with patterns across the middle, but he also gets lots of work downfield.
“We wanted to use Evan in the slot,” Ironside said. “That guy got hurt, so we’re using him on the outside. He can play either position well, but most of his mileage has come from having plays across the middle.”
Engram has benefited from having different quarterbacks in each of his three seasons. There hasn’t been a lot to adjust to each season because each quarterback has been productive.
“I haven’t had to adjust to anything that those guys have done,” Engram said. “They put the ball where it needs to be. They’re great players who have made plays for us, and I come in and do my part.”
Engram will continue to do his part for Hillgrove as it attempts to win its second straight region championship.
“I lost a lot of games playing rec-league football growing up,” he said. “But, at Hillgrove, I’m winning a lot which is good. I’m not use to that, so being a part of such a successful program is great.”
Engram’s play-making abilities have contributed to that success, and Ironside is grateful that he’s been a part of the program.
“Most people don’t have the type of 6-4, 210-pound receiver that I have in Evan,” he said. “His big frame is great for the spread. Plus, he’s a kid who plays hard and goes to work everyday. He’s the kind of kid you want in your program.”