In order to gain more insight into the newest Maryland commitment, long snapper Nate Adams, we spoke to his Greenway (Phoenix, Ariz.) High head coach, K.J. Anthony.
Here's what he had to say:
Terrapin Times: Coach, just to start, give us an overview of what kind of a player Maryland is getting in Nate.
KA: Well, first know that for us he's a very valuable linebacker who tied the school record in tackles with 102. He's not just a long snapper, he's a pretty good football player all around. He was one of the most valuable pieces on our football team this year, and he was a true leader.
He's a great kid, a great student and he's a top-notch kid.
TT: Coach, because positions like linebacker or quarterback or receiver are fairly visible, the athletes that line up there are easier to evaluate to the human eye. But what about long snappers? What makes Nate special? What makes him better than most guys who snap a ball?
KA: For our standpoint, you're basically looking at velocity of the snap and you're looking at if he gets the snap in the right spot – and he's never had any issues with either of those. I didn't train Nate before he got to high school, his personal coach he's been going to for years did that, but his snaps are always right there.
We time the snap count, we time how long it takes the punter to get the ball off, and we time our opponents also, and we honestly didn't have anybody come after our snaps this year at all. Basically [the opponents] just said, ‘forget it, we're not even going to try.' I mean, that's a major weapon for us that goes unnoticed. Nate was so quick with the snap teams didn't even bother rushing the punter.
TT: So how fast is he? What's a good time for a snapper?
KA: Our snap-to-punt time is about 2.1 seconds. We don't time just the snap, but we time how long it takes to get the punt off, and that obviously has something to do with the punter too, but it's around a 2.1. In high school, you're pretty good if you're right around 2.3, so Nate is well below where most kids are at this level.
TT: Just from talking to Nate and then knowing that he had over 100 tackles this year, he seems like a real competitor. And he made it clear when I spoke to him he wants to be known as an athlete first and not just a snapper. So is that the mentality he has, he's not going to be pigeonholed as just a special teams guy?
KA: Yeah, without a doubt. He's a football player. Some of those special teams guys are really just there for special teams, but he takes pride in being a complete player. He wants to be a leader on the team, and he wants to excel in more than one area.
TT: Now, when did Nate actually come up to varsity? How long has he been snapping for you?
KA: He snapped for us as a sophomore. We actually kept him on JV as a freshman even though he was a little better than what we had, just to get him the experience. But he snapped for us as a sophomore and played linebacker for us a sophomore, so he's been a three-year starter on varsity.
TT: It really sounds like this kid is quite a linebacker if he could start there as a sophomore as well…
KA: Yeah, my understanding was his Air Force offer was actually for linebacker and long snapper. He's quite a player; he can definitely make plays on defense.
TT: Switching gears, I'm interested to find out your relationship with the Maryland staff. I mean, I know Maryland has recruited in California, Texas and some other places out West, but I hadn't heard Arizona…
KA: I actually had never seen them out here before. But Coach [Andre] Powell contacted me and told me he was flying out to come see Nate. And when I met him I was very impressed with him. He was a very personable guy, very honest and I really liked him.
TT: I'm amazed how Maryland even found out about Nate. How did they come to even give him a look?
KA: Well Nate is one of the top-ranked long snappers in the country, and there's a couple national camps he participated in. I'm sure [Maryland] got his information from that. But the first contact I had with them was when I heard they were coming out for a visit last week. Before that I hadn't really heard from anyone at Maryland. I met [Powell] for the first time when he came out, he was great, he was great with Nate, and we all really liked the guy.
TT: Coach, what kind of a personality is Nate? What's he like around the guys and in the locker room?
KA: You know what, he's a great kid around all the guys. He actually sets an example and hangs around with my freshman kids -- they all love him. He's kind of like a mentor to them. He's a lighthearted guy, easy to get along with, and all his teammates respect him. But at the same time, let me tell you, he's a competitor and works his butt off too. In terms of worth ethic, there are very few that does what he does. He's always in the weight room, and he's put up some very impressive numbers in there. But on campus, yes, he's very well respected and well thought of.
TT: It seems like he's a very driven, type-A personality. True?
KA: Absolutely. He's a go-getter. And his dad, Phil, is actually my defensive coordinator and we've had a long relationship … Nate obviously has one of those hard-working, coach's-son mentalities.
TT: What does Nate do off the field? Like a lot of kids, he told me his life is football, but there's gotta be something more (laughs)…
KA: Honestly, he's a football junkie. That's the truth. From the practices, to the training he does on his own, from the weight lifting – that's what he loves.
He's a heck of a good student too, though, and he spends a lot of time making sure those grades are up. He takes a lot of AP course and is very good in the classroom.
TT: Last question, Coach. It rarely happens that long snappers get scholarships. Did you ever think one of your snappers would end up with a full ride to a BCS program?
KA: It doesn't happen very often, but all the big schools had been looking at him, and he'd been working towards it for years. I had an inkling it would happen for him, just because of all the work he'd put in and all the schools that had come in to watch him.
Coach Speak: K.J. Anthony on Nate Adams
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