Bucs' Mike Evans has past, present with 'rock star' QBs Manziel, Winston

Mike Evans and Johnny Manziel were a prolific tandem at Texas A&M in 2012 and 2013. Scott Halleran/Getty Images

TAMPA, Fla. -- Yes, Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston are both quarterbacks. But they're more than that.

"They're rock stars," Mike Evans said.

Evans should know because he has seen the fishbowl that Manziel and Winston live in. Evans was a wide receiver for Manziel at Texas A&M. Now, he's paired with the rookie Winston on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Manziel is a second-year quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, who play the Bucs in a preseason game Saturday night. Manziel won't be playing because of a sore right elbow.

"Johnny was one of the best college football players ever," said Evans, who will sit out the remainder of the preseason with a hamstring injury. "And so was Jameis. They both won the Heisman and there is a lot of hype that goes with that."

Evans said Manziel avoided going out on campus because he instantly was swarmed by crowds. Winston gets the same treatment, Evans said.

"Playing with Johnny was crazy, but Johnny knew all the attention came with the territory and he handled it all really well," Evans said. "Jameis gets the same kind of attention and he's been a pro with the way he has handled it."

Evans said he has been impressed with the way Winston stays focused during his first NFL training camp.

"He doesn't really get on social media or anything else too much," Evans said. "He just talks straight football. He doesn't talk about the outside world or anything like that, just straight football."

Evans said he and Manziel built a strong chemistry quickly.

"It was instant," Evans said. "We both redshirted and we were on the scout team together. He'd always throw to me. I guess that's how the chemistry started."

Evans had more than 1,000 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns as a rookie last season, despite some shaky play at quarterback. With Winston, Evans said the chemistry has come as quickly as it did with Manziel.

"So far, it's been great," Evans said. "He trusts me a lot. He's been giving me opportunities to make plays. We had some time together in the offseason and training camp has been good. I'm out for the rest of the preseason, obviously. But when we get to the regular season, we'll be fine."