Illinois scored an important commitment on Friday when they landed St. Louis University High two-way standout Tony Adams. But what is it that makes Adams such an intriguing prospect? And what side of the ball does he project to?
First of all, it is a little surprising that more schools didn't recruit Adams based on his junior film. A natural playmaker, Adams spent a lot of his time on the offensive side of the ball.
On offense, Adams shows ability to get open and create separation with his speed. He is explosive off the line of scrimmage and uses his quickness to get behind his defender. A lot of receivers have speed over the first 20 yards, but Adams has the breakaway speed to take the ball the distance any time he gets in space.
Adams' physical composition is very good, but we would still like to see him tested more in beating press coverage, where his routes are disrupted and he has to battle from the line of scrimmage.
One of Adams' most underrated qualities as a receiver is his ability to use good footwork in navigating through traffic. Adams uses good body control and balance to weave his way past tacklers back out to space.
Adams will still need to become a more technical route-runner at the college level, but has several key assets that would make him a strong college receiver.
But he wants to play on the defensive side of the ball, too. Let's also take a look at Adams' ability as a defender, too.
Adams already displays a great backpedal out of his stance and has fairly good instincts on when to break on the ball. He will need to improve his ability to stay square to the line of scrimmage and finish tackles at the next level, but he already shows great athleticism and quickness to the ball.
Adams did not have to play much one on one man coverage in high school, so at the college level he may be challenged by man coverage. Adams is somewhat of a scrappy player though, so he should be able to handle press coverage at the line of scrimmage.
Where he may have an underrated impact is in the return game. His vision in space a quick cut ability give him the potential to be a quality return specialist.
Adams has stated that he would like to play defense in college, but his versatility and flexibility should allow him to fit on either side of the ball.