Millard North's (Omaha) Adam Shada made his official campus visit to Iowa City this past weekend, signaling another positive step on his road to recovery and fall practice.
Shada committed to the Hawkeyes back in June and had rushed for more than 1,300 yards through North's first seven games as their star quarterback. He was following in the footsteps of former Millard North legend Eric Crouch, literally.
But Shada began to feel significant pain in his arm. When doctors investigated this pain further, they found a blood clot and told him that his senior season was over. Not only that, this clot, had it gone unchecked, was a possible life threatening situation.
"They (the doctors) had always thought that it was the first rib and the clavicle that were compressing the vein.' Shada said. So the doctors removed that rib.
"But I had another surgery recently. This guy went in from the top and saw that there was a tendon attached to something that it should not have been attached to. I guess it was supposed to be under the vein but it was over it, so when I lifted my arm, it would pinch it (the vein) off. So he just cut the tendon off so it would not attach to anything, and the doctor said that the blood was flowing great."
Which begs the question: did the rib have to be removed at all?
"Well, he said that was still necessary to relieve the pressure, but it was my first question to him after he talked about the tendon, ‘So the rib didn't have to go?'" Shada said, laughing.
And its good to hear the laughter coming from Shada, who is just two months removed from being told that his football career might be over.
That does not appear to be the case at this point, as Shada told us that "I am feeling awesome!"
Now, back to the business of being your typical D1 football recruit on an official campus visit.
"The visit was awesome. The people were great. It really made me feel good and reminded me why I decided to choose Iowa. It felt great to be a part of it again." Shada said.
"There was one day designated to academics. We visited Iowa's new academic center (The Gerdin Center) and talked about how the academic plan is set up for the first year. Then we got to the fun stuff later on."
Iowa's new academic facility built especially for student athletes is sure to be a significant fixture in the overall presentation of what Hawkeye athletic programs have to offer, something Shada agreed with.
"I would think so, especially with the people that are not as strong academically. They really sit you down and help you out, provide tutors and a quiet place to work. The neat thing is that involvement with this center and their academic tools are mandatory for the first semester to help get you on your feet and off to a good start."
And about that fun stuff?
"Sean Considine was my host and he was awesome. All of the players were great. It was exciting getting to know them, knowing that I will be competing with them down the road. The town seems like a lot of fun and everyone was great."
An interesting aspect of the recruiting process is that more often than not, prospects are hosted by players who they may end up competing with for playing time. Did that make the situation awkward at all for Shada?
"You really are not competing against each other very much. You just do your best and the coaches put the best guy on the field. You need to be friends with each other, because we are all segregated into groups, so I will be spending about three hours per day with the defensive backs. Whoever plays will fall into place, everyone will try hard." Shada said.
Given that Robert Gallery had just won the Outland Trophy the night before Shada arrived in Iowa City, we asked Adam if he got to speak with Iowa's biggest celebrity.
"I did, but he was only there for the last night, so I did not get to meet him very much. But he is a big boy." Shada joked.
"The Outland Trophy presentation is here in Omaha, so I will be going to that."
With his official visit out of the way and knowing that the Iowa coaching staff stood by him all along during his medical procedures, Shada is excited about what the next several months have in store.
"The doctor said that I am good to go. I am on target to start lifting weights again this spring."
So did the doctors give Shada a clean bill of health and green light his football career?
"Anything can happen, but they feel they have identified and fixed the problem, so I am real excited about that and getting to Iowa City and working for playing time."
NOTE: Millard North went on to win the Class A Nebraska football state championship, leaving Cornhusker State pundits to decide if this year's Millard North team was the best ever in the state's history. The team amassed more than 5,000 yards rushing, and their final rushing total for the year ranks 10th all time in American High School football history.
Even though he played in just seven games, the 6-1, 175-pound Shada accounted for nearly 25% of that total. He is expected to begin his Iowa career at cornerback.