Fastest DB on the Team

CLEMSON - It's not often you can use the term world class athlete when talking about a freshman football player. But that's exactly what first-year safety Spencer Adams is.

CUTigers Interview with Spencer Adams: (3:15)

Adams, Scout.com's No. 11 safety for the class of 2008, is also one of the top hurdlers in the nation, and will run track at Clemson as well.

In fact in May, he won the 4A state championship in North Carolina in the 110 hurdles with the best time (13.51 seconds) recorded at a high school meet this year.

Just two weeks later he won the 110 hurdles (13.75) and 400 intermediate hurdles (50.99) at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C.

Fast forward to August, Adams now finds himself in a battle with fellow freshman Rashard Hall and a couple of little-used upperclassmen for playing time as a safety in Clemson's ultra-talented defensive backfield.

"I've picked up things pretty well so far," Adams told CUTigers.com. "Everything is a lot of faster than what is was in high school. But I've picked up a lot from Mike Hamlin. He seems to know everything that goes on with our defense so I've been asking him a lot of questions.

"I've been doing well, but I've got a lot more work to do."

Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden called Adams the fastest safety on the team earlier this week, however there is also some concern about his weight. Standing in at over 6-feet-2 inches tall, Adams weighs just 180 pounds.

As a safety, the speed is good, but the size could create some concerns, especially in run support. Adams says the weight will eventually come, but his biggest concern right now is showing the coaching staff a strong knowledge of the defense first.

"I didn't come here to redshirt, but if that's what it takes for me to be the best player I can be, I'll have to bite the bullet on that," Adams said. "A lot of great players have redshirted before. So I'd be disappointed, but I'd understand if coach wanted me to, then I needed to."
"I definitely need to put on a little weight but right now my big concern is learning these coverages," he said. "No matter what, if do gain weight and I don't know coverages, I'm still not going to play. But if I know the coverages and I'm still under weight, I think coach will still be like, 'at least he knows what he's supposed to do and I can put him in on coverage situations.'"

Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning has also been impressed with Adams, and even though he'd probably rather redshirt him this season, he admits Adams is likely going to see the field.

"Probably the best thing for him would be for him not to play [this season]," Koenning said. "He needs to get in the weight room and gain some weight. He's the type of guy that is probably going gain five pounds a month and next year he'd be 200 pounds. But we need to win now."

Koenning's reference to "winning now" has more to do with the depth chart than anything else. He feels pretty good with his current starters Mike Hamlin and Chris Clemons, however it's the depth behind those two players where the questions begin.

Right now former linebacker/running back Sadat Chambers and walk-on Kantrell Brown are his two best options outside of DeAndre McDaniel, who is also playing at the SAM linebacker spot.

And then there's Spencer Adams.

"I didn't come here to redshirt, but if that's what it takes for me to be the best player I can be, I'll have to bite the bullet on that," he said. "A lot of great players have redshirted before. So I'd be disappointed, but I'd understand if coach wanted me to, then I'd need to [redshirt]."

In addition, don't forget what Bowden said earlier this week, "He's the fastest safety on the team."

That fact hasn't gone unnoticed by the true freshman.

"I feel like I can take a little bit more risk than other guys can," Adams added. "I can let somebody get even with more than other players can, but I need to make the size up too. If I can put on some weight and keep my speed, I'll be fine and that's what I'm trying to do."

CUTigers.com Top Stories