Signee Spotlight: Tony Adams

Illini Inquirer's Ryan Easterling and Jeremy Werner break down what St. Louis University High cornerback Tony Adams brings to the Illini

Ryan Easterling’s Scouting Report

Reminds me of: Former Illinois WR/CB Terry Hawthorne.  Adams has elite speed and athleticism, and played extensively on both sides of the ball in high school.  Adams, who has clocked legitimate 4.4 speed in the 40 is just as good as a receiver as he is on defense, possibly even better, but he’s more likely to fit into the Illinois secondary, where we still expect him to thrive.  Like Hawthorne, Adams is a threat in the return game any time he touches the ball.

It remains to be seen where he is when he returns from injury, but if he can bounce back and his rehab goes well, he could be a guy to see early action.  If not, I expect him to take time off and recover fully before pushing himself too soon.

First-year impact

Based on pure speed, athleticism, length and play-making ability, Adams would have the ability to compete for a starting job given how thin the Illini are at cornerback. But he suffered a torn ACL in September and is on the slow recovery back. He is close to returning to running, but given how much the Illini have struggled with knee injuries the last few years, they’ll likely take it slow with Adams. He won’t arrive on campus and work with the team doctors and strength staff until June, which could minimize his impact in 2017. When healthy though, he will add an exciting playmaker to both the secondary and special teams. - Jeremy Werner

Werner’s narrative

Illinois vs. Mizzou football hasn’t gone well for the Illini during the last five years or so, on the field or off the field -- until Illinois landed Tony Adams. The uber-athletic Adams was the 2017 star of the Illini’s satellite camp in St. Louis this past June, which helped earn him an Illinois offer. That same week, he showed out at a Missouri camp, earning a Tigers offer. The two battled it out over the next two months before Adams chose the Illini, giving Lovie Smith a much-needed win in the St. Louis area -- an important nearby city of which Illinois has nearly been shut out in recent years. Mizzou made another late run at Adams and fellow St. Louis product Larry Boyd this winter, but Illinois held on for a couple big (and possibly program-building) wins over Mizzou.

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