ItzLiveee: former Mountaineer, now professional athlete, streamer


Megan McCulloh

Chicago Bears running back Darrynton Evans totaled 31 touchdowns in his App State career and now amasses over 20,000 followers on his Twitch streaming account.

Kolby Shea, Reporter

As streaming, which is playing video games online for others to watch, has taken the entertainment industry by storm, one former App State football player now makes a name for himself in athletics and in gaming. 

Chicago Bears running back and former Mountaineer Darrynton Evans has capitalized on this movement while he continues his career in the NFL. He has amassed over 21,000 followers on the popular streaming platform Twitch, and over 10,000 subscribers on YouTube under the channel name ItzLiveee.  

Evans started playing video games as a kid on the PlayStation One with his older brother. Though his controller may not have been plugged in, he still fell in love with the world of gaming. He said gaming brought his family closer together and was something they could bond over. Two of his cousins went on to find success in the professional gaming industry, one playing Madden NFL and the other playing Call of Duty. 

As he grew older, he continued to game, but it was in college he decided to try streaming for the first time. His family saw his talent for gaming and his charismatic personality and pushed him to begin recording content. 

Evans said he wasn’t getting many views at first, but it became something he enjoyed doing. Once he got into the league, he had to overcome the stigma that gaming as an athlete was synonymous with a lack of focus on their profession.

“Once I stopped caring about what everybody else was going to think, that’s when I started to see success and the numbers started growing and everything went up,” Evans said. 

During football season, Evans tries streaming at least three to four times a week, but during the off-season, his content is produced at a higher volume. 

He said he felt he had enough skill in the mainstream games, like Call of Duty, Madden or NBA 2K, but wasn’t sure fans would watch his content when they could watch professional gamers do the same thing he was doing. 

He found his niche in NCAA 14 Revamped, which is a game that allows players to take control over their favorite college football team. EA Sports, a video game development company, hasn’t launched this style of game in nearly nine years, enough time to produce nostalgia among the fans of the game. Evans’ content capitalizes on this nostalgia that many gamers and sports fans share. 

In his most recent series, Evans took control of App State football to bring the school glory that it has experienced before. This series captures his audience, many of whom support App State football themselves. 

Ultimately, Evans says he has different priorities than other streamers. Playing video games and streaming means more than just showcasing his skill. 

“It’s not necessarily to be the best player, but it’s to be the best entertainer,” Evans said. 

Though many viewers know him as NFL running back Darrynton Evans, that’s not how he wants to be defined. 

“I don’t want people coming in just because of my job or my profession. I’d rather people come in to try to get to know me,” Evans said. 

His biggest goal in creating content and streaming is to connect with others. He wants his fans to know that he is more than just a football player they watch on Sunday afternoons. It’s the personal connection that makes streaming so valuable to Evans. 

Because of this, Evans makes sure to find his viewers at every game he plays in and tries to give back to those who watch him. In his first NFL season, COVID-19 protocols restricted access to fans, which only strengthened his desire to get to know his supporters. 

Evans has seen many benefits come from streaming, specifically expanding his brand. He is now a Twitch partner and an affiliate of G-Fuel, an energy drink company. Outside of those partnerships, he had the opportunity to meet some big names in gaming, including members of FaZe Clan and OpTic Gaming, two widely popular gaming organizations.

Through his experience, he wants to spread the message to all athletes that their sport doesn’t have to be the only thing that defines their success in life. 

“It’s in your best interest, if you’re an athlete, to find something else you’re passionate about and just try to get in those rooms. The biggest thing for you is going to be exposure. The more you’re exposed to, the more opportunities you have to do something that you love,” Evans said. 

Though football is his focus now, he says he knows he can’t play forever. Originally, Evans planned to coach at the collegiate or professional level, but the intense time commitment of those jobs isn’t appealing to Evans. He might not be sure what his plan is, but if there’s a way for him to financially support his future through his passion for gaming, he says that would feel like the easy answer. 

As for right now, he will continue to make content as he prepares for his fourth year in the NFL. Last year, Evans played for the Chicago Bears but had limited playing time. Next season, whether playing in Chicago or not, Evans will be looking for opportunities to show that a full-time career in streaming can wait several years.