Carriker now amongst Playboy elite

There are All-American lists and there are All-American lists. What differentiates one from the other? The parties voting for those lists, of course, but there's something even more relevant: The Organization. If you hear AP, you know it's legit and that is often thought of as the standard in polls. But let's not forget THE one. You know which one I am talking about. Adam Carriker knows, because he just became a member of it. That's right – Adam Carriker is going to be in Playboy.

I read Playboy, the keyword being "read."

You know the old saying: Playboy has great articles

Well, yeah, they do………..I guess

Believe it or not, though, one of the more anticipated issues of the magazine doesn't necessarily involve a fold-out photograph of the latest female, who none of us "normal" people will ever even meet, much less……….well, you know.

It's the Annual Preseason Playboy All-American Team, where an expert picks out who he thinks are the best Division 1-A college football players in the country for the 2006 season.

Oh, sure, I know there are other issues of the magazine you, the average-everyday-ordinary-hot-blooded-male is looking forward to, but since the late ‘50s, Playboy has been picking this group, and it has become one of the most anticipated All-American lists in the country.

And don't think that it's not a respectable list. It's not Hugh Hefner pouring over photos rather than statistics, awards and actual facts, after all. It's experts, including Gil Brandt, a former Vice President for player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960 to 1989. Brandt has been's main personnel guru for the last eight years.

When senior defensive end Adam Carriker found out he was on the list almost a month ago, he knew this was a legit deal. "Obviously, getting named to that list is a big deal," Adam said. "The guy picking the list still works with the NFL, so you know he knows what he's talking about."

With that being said, being named to one of the most famous lists in the country was a significant and even surprising event in the Huskers' life, especially considering the timing of the award. "I wasn't really one of those heavily recruited kids coming out of high school," Adam said. "I was one of those that never really got recognized before a season, because I had to prove it before anyone really gave me a shot."

"When I was in little league, I had to beat out the coaches' kid and when I was in middle school, I had to beat out the coaches' kid there too. So, I have had to earn the recognition first and this award is nice, because it recognizes something I haven't even done yet."

Ok, that's great, but come on: this is Playboy.

Sure, it's great being named to this team, because it's a legit list and you join a group of elite football players, from Lombardi candidates to Heisman Trophy winners. But it's PLAYBOY, man! The mansion, Hugh, his bathrobe and girls, girls, girls. This isn't an event, it's a fantasy come to life.

Then again

"Actually, the only thing that was really Playboy about it was the sign," Carriker said. "We got some stuff that said Playboy on it, but that was about it. Hugh wasn't there."

Believe it or not, there was a moment in time, where Carriker didn't think he would be able to attend the annual event, this year held in Phoenix, Arizona, at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort. No, it wasn't his girlfriend saying he couldn't go. In fact, it was her and others, who were a big reason Adam went at all.

"With my family's vacation, I didn't think I was going to be able to make it," Adam said of the event, which was held this last weekend. "But my parents and my girlfriend actually urged me to go. So, I went."

And when he arrived, Carriker found himself amongst some of the players, whose names he he's heard, but had never actually met. And even Carriker found himself sizing up the competition. "Everyone does that. If they tell you they don't, they are lying," Adam said of comparing himself to other players at his position. "The thing was, there were guys like Gaines Adams (Clemson) and Quentin Moses (Georgia), who were just different types of defensive ends than me."

Even Brandt took notice of some of the more physically impressive specimens at the event, Carriker being one of those he noted. But as Carriker found out to his surprise, the players who were, like him, sizing up the rest of the field, sized him up, but at the wrong position.

"I was asked three times which position on the offensive line I played," Carriker said. "I couldn't believe it. The first time I heard it, it caught me off guard, but then I heard it two more times."

"I was like ‘ok, time to go on a diet', but the players said that it wasn't because I was fat. It was because I was thick."

At 6 foot, 6 inches and 295 pounds, yeah, he's thick. And with most, that means he's awfully strong as well. In a variety of contests that they held down at this event, which include ping pong, Carriker showed some of his strength off, but what others thought was a good performance, he didn't.

"They had this baseball throwing deal, where you threw it as hard as you can and I couldn't even throw it 80 miles an hour," Carriker said. "I was pissed. I called my dad up and was just telling him that I couldn't throw the ball even 80 miles an hour now. I threw 93 when I was in high school."

Carriker went on to explain the varying muscles it takes to throw a baseball versus a football and how his increased thickness in the upper body, has dulled his ability to fling the baseball into the 90 m.p.h range. Adam wasn't too shabby with the football either, as he could toss the football right around 75 yards.

Adam didn't hit 80, but he took some solace from the deal, because the guy who was actually supposed to have the strong arm, finished behind the Husker DE. "Troy Smith threw it about 75 miles an hour," Carriker said of the Ohio State Buckeye QB. "I was kind of jazzing him about it the rest of the day. Yeah, I didn't get 80, but I beat the quarterback. That's not bad for a defensive end."

Not bad at all, but that's why he was there. Honored as one of the best players in the country at his position, this event was to have fun, but to honor the elite of the elite.

That poses an interesting situation for Carriker, and it points toward something he said earlier, in that now instead of coming out from the realm of the unknown and unsung, he's going to be one of those guys with a target on this chest. "It will be different going in as someone recognized for something, but that's ok," Adam said. "It won't change a thing that I do. Honestly, nobody can really expect more from me than I do. That's just how I am."

With the event now history and Adam's name marked in Playboy history, it begs the ultimate question. Sure, you got a lot of nifty trinkets and there's always the memories of the event you'll keep for the rest of your days. But again, this is Playboy, darnit. For being named to this illustrious team, you should get its most coveted prize.

A subscription

"Umm, no, no subscription," Adam said. "If I did get one, I probably wouldn't be able to keep it."

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