Lauren Fleming, director of Hospitality Events and Community Outreach Programs at Reese’s Senior Bowl, said Evans was selected because of his selfless commitment to assisting others.
“He’s just the sweetest guy and you can just tell he has a really big heart,” Fleming said. “We love partnering with Alabama Power to acknowledge these players off the field as well as on the field.”
Patrick Murphy, vice president of Alabama Power’s Mobile Division, surprised Evans with the award during a Reese’s Senior Bowl team practice in Mobile.
“Akayleb recognized early on this was an avenue for him,” Murphy said. “We’re happy to shine a light on individuals like him who support the communities they live in.”
Evans’ history of community service began in high school when he and his mother created the Akayleb Evans Foundation to provide food and toys for less-fortunate kids in his hometown of McKinney, Texas. It quickly expanded when Evans entered college at the University of Tulsa, where he encouraged other student-athletes to volunteer their time helping others.
“If you have a lot of influence and don’t use it in a powerful way then you’re not really using it,” Evans said. “I just wanted to be able to use my voice, and the best way to do that was to start a foundation.”
Evans’ foundation quickly grew large enough for him to start an annual college scholarship fund for one high school senior from his hometown. Evans is hoping his performance Saturday at the Reese’s Senior Bowl will increase his stock ahead of the NFL draft and give his foundation a bigger opportunity to thrive.
“You never know what people are going through, so why not give back?” Evans said. “Anything is everything to some people.”
The Akayleb Evans Foundation donated $100 in gift cards to staff at Urgent Care in McKinney. They took care of my injuries in high school. Now I'm taking care of them. #EssentialHeroes #TackleTheCurve pic.twitter.com/sfnOpVqe0R
— Akayleb Evans (@AkaylebEvans) May 5, 2020
The 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl will be played Saturday, Feb. 5, at Hancock Whitney Stadium on the campus of the University of South Alabama. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on the NFL Network.