"My first goal is to be able to get my degree," Adams told CUTigers.com in a recent interview. "I'm in a very short list of people in my family who's had the opportunity to graduate from college, so that's my main goal. For my personal goal, it's almost every kid's dream to make it to the next level, NFL, NBA, baseball, whatever sport they might play.
"I have that opportunity. Those are my main two goals right now."
Of course, many would suggest that Adams is well on his way.
Ever since his arrival three years ago from Fork Union Military Academy, Adams has seen his playing time and his production steadily increase. After redshirting his first year at Clemson in 2002, Adams went from 15 tackles (four for loss) in 2003 to 35 tackles to go along with five sacks last year.
And while the numbers themselves may not be mind-boggling, the talent and natural ability is definitely there.
Just ask head coach Tommy Bowden.
"He really did some good things for us this spring," Bowden said. "Especially in some of the scrimmages. You can see some of the things he brings to the table in terms of athleticism, quickness."
Adams was one of the most dominant players on the field during spring practice, especially during the two scrimmages leading up to the spring game when he recorded five total sacks. "Gaines Adams has always had a lot of potential," Bowden said. "I've talked a lot about him, but he is a guy that can be really disruptive when he's got it going."
The good news for Clemson fans is that the addition of defensive coordinator Vic Koenning to the Tigers' staff should only help Adams in the coming seasons.
For starters, Adams' athleticism will be put to use both as a defensive end and also as a linebacker. He's the "bandit" in Coach Koenning's scheme, meaning he has the ability to rush the passer, but he'll also be dropping back into coverage when needed.
"Being it's a new scheme, it takes time to get to know the system, but after going through the spring, I can say we are really catching on to the defense pretty well," said Adams. "He wants everyone hustling to the ball, if someone makes a good play; he wants the team to congratulate him. He just wants the defense to become one, because that's the only way we're going to win."
But for now, with spring practice over, Adams has really been focused on getting his work done in the classroom.
"I've got exams, so right now I'm just focusing on those and working out," said Adams. "I'll be in Clemson for both summer sessions this year, so from the end of the semester to the first game will be what's going to determine what type of player I'll be next year.
"Coach Koenning mainly tells us ‘school work comes first, it comes before football.' With coach, it's strictly books and then football," Adams said.
So much is on the horizon for someone so seems to be so levelheaded and directed.
"I've got big plans, but it's much too early to talk, get with me during the season," Adams added.
Adams has Big Plans for 2005
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