Do-It-All Athlete Decides on First Love

Apparently Iowa State coaches weren't expecting the exhibition from an in-state athlete they witnessed at last week's padded camp. Leading up to his trip to Ames, Clarinda's Adam Carper was still in search of his first scholarship offer and the Cyclones hadn't even been the program showing the most interest.

But that changed in the opening night of camp when Carper blazed through ISU's strength and conditioning tests, tying for first overall in the entire field. His 9-foot-10-inch standing long jump ranked second, while his shuttle time put him third overall.

Carper didn't disappoint in the days that followed, proving himself as a jack of all trades. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder played quarterback, wide receiver, outside linebacker and defensive back.

"Adam was a little bit of an unknown," said his father Dave, also Clarinda's head coach. "They knew of him, but I don't think he was real hot and heavy on their list. Actually, Iowa probably showed a lot more interest than Iowa State. But when he went up to camp, the first day he really tested well. That made them a little more aware of him, and then they tried him in different positions.

"What probably sold them on him more than anything was that he's versatile and can play several positions. They're looking at him on the defensive side. His positions in high school are quarterback and defensive back, so he tried those the first day. Then they asked him to do wide receiver and outside linebacker, and he did pretty well. They think he's a pretty versatile athlete."

While leading his team to the Class 2A state semifinals, Carper put up impressive numbers on both sides. He rushed for 755 yards and 15 touchdowns on 110 carries, while completing 70-of-154 passes for 1,121 yards and 12 touchdowns to three interceptions. Playing cornerback primarily, Carper posted 52 tackles, four fumble recoveries (returning one for a touchdown) and four defensive interceptions.

Doing so earned him a spot on several recruiting lists of D-I programs, including Kansas State's after a recent trip to a one-day camp. Interest probably would have increased throughout the summer and fall months, too. But Carper wasn't interested in prolonging the recruiting process, instead picking his first love.

"It feels like the place for me to go," said Carper. "I really like what Coach McCarney's done for the program so far. He's going to continue that success at Iowa State. Ames is close to my family. I have a lot of relatives that live up in that area and my parents can watch at the same time. Academically, I'm going into business and they're building a new business center in a few years. That was another plus.

"Coach (Chris) Ash recruited me. From the first day of camp, he treated me as a part of the team already. That felt good. He made me comfortable with the system. He knows a lot about football and I think I can learn from him."

Carper's love for ISU and Ames began last summer when he spent 10 days as a water boy alongside his father, who coached a team in last August's Shrine Bowl.

"Probably the main thing was him spending that 10 days up there last year for the Shrine Bowl," Dave Carper said. "He got to know the campus a lot more. He's really liked Iowa State from that point on. Going into this year, Iowa State was his first pick."

The versatile athlete appears headed to safety after he signs on in the Class of 2004, where his father describes him as a ball hawk.

"He's very good at going to the ball," Dave Carper said. "If the ball's up in the air, he thinks it's his. There were a lot of people that didn't even throw at him last year. Defensively, he's pretty aggressive and covers the run well. He's a pretty good tackler. The defensive end of the game is what sold Iowa State the most."

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