Moving the Chains with . . . EIU lineman Evan Kanz

Moving the Chains with . . . EIU lineman Evan Kanz
Evan Kanz (photo courtesy of EIUPanthers.com)

Offensive lineman Evan Kanz capped his Eastern Illinois career by being selected to the All-Ohio Valley Conference team. It was the second time in his career that the honor had been bestowed upon him.

But, there’s much more to his story. Get to know Evan Kanz.

Senior

Hometown:  Luxemburg, Wisc.

Major:  Poltical Science

Evan Kanz

Evan Kanz

When you look back on your EIU career, what stands out the most?

Playing with (record-setting quarterback Jimmy) Garoppolo my redshirt freshman year. The win we had at San Diego State and the run we made that year was pretty special. This year I played a more prominent role in beating then #4 ranked Illinois State and FBS Miami (Ohio). Those wins were two of the best experiences.

You mentioned Jimmy Garoppolo. What was he like as a teammate?

It’s hard to even put into words, he was just amazing. He was a great player, a great guy. He was someone that everybody looked up to.

He obviously had the physical tools, but he was a great leader. He was really a student of the game and led by example. He was always working hard and did what he needed to do. 

What will you remember most about EIU outside of football?

I’m very happy that I chose Eastern. I got my bachelor’s degree and my master’s degree. I’ve made a lot of friends, won a lot of football games. I can’t really ask for much more.

Being an offensive lineman, you sustained your share of injuries over the years. What’s that been like?

I might have fractured my wrist (this season). I didn’t even know. I didn’t get it x-rayed. That was three games ago.

I’ve torn my labrum twice since I’ve been here. It’s still torn right now. I’ve broken six fingers. I kind of got used to it over the years. I doesn’t really phase me as much.

Do you have any concerns about those injuries and their impact years from now? What about all of the recent attention given to concussions?

I’ve definitely thought out it. If the concussion thing ever became a problem I’d definitely look into that, but I’ve been here for four years. I came here to play, so I’ll worry about everything after that. I just wanted to play football while I had the chance.

What scholarship offers did you have coming out of high school? Why did you ultimately choose Eastern?

The three main offers I had were Eastern, Illinois State and Southern Illinois. Coming from Wisconsin I didn’t know a whole lot about any of these schools. I took a visit to each place. When I went to Eastern, I came from a small town, and it had the same atmosphere. I met Jimmy (Lowery) and Dino Fanti and a lot of really great guys that I could see myself having fun with and winning a lot of games with. It was a great decision.

You mention fellow offensive lineman Jimmy Lowery. Were you surprised when he took advantage of the graduate transfer rule and played his final year at Boston College?

I was. He was my roommate last year. A good friend of mine. We talked a lot about it. He was pretty excited about the business school (at BC); I can’t really fault him for that. He did everything he could do here. An opportunity came along and he took it. We talk every week or so. He still misses it here and wants to know what’s going on with all the guys. 

Jimmy recently had a chance to reunite with former EIU head coach Dino Babers when Boston College played Syracuse. Did Jimmy mention what that was like?

He said Coach Babers gave him a kiss on the cheek after the game. I thought was kind of funny.

Being a political science major, what was the most fascinating thing about our recent presidential election?

How the polls were wrong. I spent a lot of time in class and on my own looking at polls. It’s crazy just how off everything was. 

Which EIU coach had the biggest imact on you and your development as a player?

Coach Mark Hutson. He came from the NFL. He was obviously successful, but he had a way to be able to relate to the guys. He made us understand the game of football and life a lot better. He was a guy you knew you could trust and that’s a big thing. I always appreciated that. He made me become a lot better player. 

Not including football, which sport at Eastern did you enjoy the most?

Men’s basketball. I’ve enjoyed watching them play even though some years have been better than others. Basketball is still my favorite sport, even though I played football. I’ve always enjoyed watching basketball and get there every chance I get. 

What have you missed most about Wisconsin after spending your recent years in Illinois?

The Green Bay Packers, it’s a way of life up there. It’s not just a fan thing. The team takes over the whole city, the whole area, the whole state. 

Getting good cheese all the time, I’ll tell you that. I honestly miss the cold sometimes. Summers are tough. The first summer camp here the temperatures were over 100 degrees; I’d never experienced anything like that. I still haven’t really adjusted to summer here.

What will you miss most about Eastern Illinois University?

I’m going to miss the small town atmosphere. A lot of good people that know each other, you get to make a lot of relationships not only with your fellow students but also with the community because of how small it is.

What does the future hold for you?

Finishing my master’s in public administration and then some sort of internship in the summer and from there either law school or just get a job. My main goal is to go to law school.

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