Oct. 21, 2017

by Ben Donovan

From food to firefighting, Evan Butts has interests all over the place.

“I love to eat,” said the junior tight end who has a much larger portion on the UVA offense this season. “I love Italian food.”

His love of food found a home when Butts enrolled at Virginia. In Charlottesville, good food is the norm. And Butts makes sure to capitalize on every chance he gets to eat out.

“There are a lot of great restaurants in Charlottesville,” Butts said. “Whenever my family come into town, or friends, we’ll go out to eat.”

But the good food doesn’t stop when his family leaves. For Butts, the food is constant. Butts and his roommates, wide receiver Ben Hogg and long snapper Joe Spaziani, love to host the team and are gaining a reputation for their cookouts.

“I also like to cook,” Butts said. “We have a grill at my place so I’ll grill steaks and whatever else we are having. We’ll have teammates over and cook hotdogs and hamburgers, cook up some chicken.”

The cooking genes run in his family. Growing up in an Italian family, food is an important staple and something the family can bond over. However, Butts has not quite developed into the chef he wants to be.

“Here’s the thing, I need to learn some more Italian dishes that I can make because that is one of my favorite foods,” Butts said.

While Butts is not the family chef, he is learning. He is looking forward to learning the family secret for one of his favorite meals in the near future.

“My mom and my older brother really know how to cook,” Butts said. “They make meatballs that my grandmother used to make them. She taught my mom, and my mom taught my older brother, so I guess I’m next in line to learn the formula for the meatballs.”

Cooking and enjoying food is certainly a passion of Butts’, but he happened upon another interest that not many high school students get to experience.

“For a few weeks at the end of my senior year, we had senior projects and for that, me and two of my buddies became volunteer firemen for about a month,” Butts said. “We worked at the firehouse and got to ride in the fire trucks. We actually got to climb up the ladder onto the rooftop of a building one day. We helped clean the trucks, had the chance to put on the full gear and learned how to open a fire hydrant. It was a really cool experience.”

While Butts was just an observer when it came to real firefighting duties during his month with a Philadelphia-based crew, he had one memorable moment.

“We actually went on one ride,” Butts said. “Thankfully there was no fire and no one in danger, it was basically a false alarm type thing. Although it was a little anticlimactic, it was still very exciting.”

As much as he enjoyed the experience, Butts does not see himself pursuit that line of service.

“Hopefully I am fortunate enough to have a good shot at playing in the NFL,” Butts said. “But after that, I am really unsure with what I want to do. I have some ideas. Maybe coaching, at the college or high school level. But I’m still trying to figure what exactly it is that I want to do.”

After studying psychology in the College, Butts is not worried about his future though. Wherever it is, Butts knows it will work out.

“Hopefully I will have a beautiful family but career-wise, I’m still trying to figure that out,” Butts said. “I’m not too worried about that right now, I know people are always saying you don’t really need a set plan.”

For Butts, the future is not the problem. Focusing on football and college, the future will solve itself. And while he doesn’t know where he will end up in the future, you can bet it will be interesting ÃÆ’¢Ãƒ¢’¬¦ and delicious.