Impact Duo

NC State Strength and Conditioning coach Jason Veltkamp discusses sophomores Tony Adams and B.J. Hill.

It's not easy to enroll in college and contribute right away in the trenches. It's even harder to do it if you're an unheralded recruit projected to start out behind upperclassmen with starting experience.

However, that didn't prevent guard Tony Adams and defensive tackle B.J. Hill from doing just that last season.

Adams, had just one offer, NC State, when he committed to the Wolfpack in the summer of 2013. Hill's only offers were from NC State, North Carolina, and East Carolina, and he picked those up after camping with the schools.

So when the pair enrolled in January of 2014 it was without much fanfare. Adams was expected to back up Quinton Schooley and Alex Barr, and Hill, who transitioned from defensive end to defensive tackle, had two seniors starting above him while also needing to add 30+ pounds to his frame.

However, it didn't take long for them to show that they were going to be contributors for the Wolfpack in the fall. Hill caught the attention of strength and conditioning coach Jason Veltkamp right away.

"That first winter, we did a lot of physical, competitive drills," said Veltkamp. "Whether it's hand-fighting drills or circle drills... there are things we do where they are battling. They are putting their hands on each other.

"We got to the end of that first winter, and B.J. Hill had more wins in some of the physical competitions than entire position groups. I had never seen anything like it before."

Hill needed to add weight to his frame, which he did, but it was his competitiveness that stood out.

"B.J. went from 265 to 295, but I go back to that now, some of those combat competitions," said Veltkamp. "It's an indicator of how tough the kid is physically and mentally. It shows how much of a competitor he is. He's a physical kid, he's competitive, and he'll battle.

"In those drills, if a kid's not a physical competitor he'll hide in the shadows, but this guy jumped in more often and he beat more people than some entire position groups just because he loves the physical side of it. That was an indicator for me that he was going to [be a factor]."

Adams is similar to Hill with his high-motor and competitiveness, but at offensive guard you need to more than that. Veltkamp, who played offensive line in college, is extremely high on Adams.

"You've got to find a guy that can bend, and Tony can bend," said Veltkamp. "You have to find a guy with light feet, and Tony is that guy too.

"Really, I think Tony has all the tools. He is smart, he's hard-working, he's a kid of character. He has great feet. He's strong as an ox. I'm just excited every time he has success doing anything he does around here."

Last year Adams worked his way into the starting lineup early in the season before starting nine games and winning the offensive Philip Rivers Award for Freshman of the Year. Hill started five of the last six games at defensive tackle, including the bowl victory over UCF, and had seven tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss at Louisville, his first career start. He finished with 37 stops and 7.5 tackles for loss in his freshman campaign to win the defensive Philip Rivers Award for Freshman of the Year.

Veltkamp admitted he was still a little surprised by their success as a true freshman because he knows it isn't easy to play early in the trenches, but it also speaks to their potential moving forward.

"Both of those guys, they have what it takes," he said. "They can be tremendous for our program."

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