The fast track back

CLEMSON - A blessing in disguise would almost be too cliché for Spencer Adams and the ACL tear he suffered to his left knee last season.

But it fits.

He was excited to be back out on the field at 100 percent when Clemson opened practice Tuesday night. But for now, his head isn't getting the message.

Adams is leaning on the cautious side, he said, and that's why he was sporting the brace and will continue to do so at least until his head is OK with it.

"The knee feels good, but I have to get the mental part of it back. Getting back into the flow of things, running full speed and getting back to trusting myself," Adams said, "Once I do that it's going to be really nice."

Highly touted out of Charlotte's Butler HS, Adams was the No. 18 safety prospect in the country, according to Four stars and all, he thought his 6-foot-2 frame and blazing speed would easily lock down Clemson's starting free safety spot.

Almost a year after the injury he's back with a new mindset. Support along the way from his teammates has been a big part of it.

"I feel good about learning the defense and working with coach Cheese (Charlie Harbison). I have all of my teammates supporting me," Adams said.

Two roommates who also play free safety, Carlton Lewis and Rashard Hall, have been there every step of the way. No doubt it helps that there's friendly competition and no resentment.

"Rashard has been coaching me up in the spring. So the installs haven't been as hard as they should be," Adams said. "I've been real blessed for that."

Football was the only love that Adams was afraid of losing when the knee went last October. Having already come to terms with to his red-shirt by then, Adams suffered through track season, especially watching guys he knew he was faster than perform at the level they did.

"Seeing guys I beat in high school go to worlds and nationals, one guy got third in the ACC—I beat him in high school," he said.

"When I got red-shirted (in football) I said I was just going to go ahead and win the ACCs in track and everything would be fine."

But there went that plan. From there, Adams said he had to take a step back and re-evaluate everything. Now he's refocused and ready for a full slate of football and track.

"I'm coming from the bottom, starting from there all over again," he said. "It's the people doubting me that I can't come back and be as fast as I was. I know I'm going to be as fast, if not faster."

That's all the motivation he needs now, especially after coming to Clemson "a little cocky."

"Knowing I was going to be good at track, it humbled me," Adams said. "Now I'm ready to go." Top Stories