"I think that we have the highest expectations that we've ever had or ever needed to put on ourselves because of the talent we have," said Mike Newsome, Butler's head football coach. "It's just a matter of whether or not we can mesh together and pull together and play together as a team."
Newsome will rely heavily on the play and leadership of Spencer Adams, a 6-foot-1 175-pound safety, to help with the meshing process.
"Spencer has been a three-year starter for us and the speed that he brings to the secondary is something most people don't have," said Newsome. "That speed allows him to sit back and play deep and play the ball.
"But what he brings to our team as a character guy is much more than that. He provides a tremendous amount of leadership for our younger guys and does a great job working with our other players."
Adams more than welcomes the extra responsibility.
"Definitely, I want to step up my leadership role," said Adams. "I want to be more of a leader and be more of a playmaker on the defensive side of the ball."
In Butler's secondary, Adams mostly plays a deep zone, but will come up and play some man-coverage. He's also responsible for making most of the secondary calls.
Also a major concern for Adams this fall is his recruitment.
"It's going really well – real smooth," said Adams. "I'm really looking at Clemson, Florida, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech, Michigan. They're all going really well.
"Text messages get cut off [Wednesday], so I've been giving them all my email address. We'll stay in touch through email."
The seven aforementioned schools make up Adams' "top seven."
"Really, it's how those program feels to me," said Adams.
"North Carolina, it feels really at home, it's cool. They have the spirit of changes [with Butch Davis coming in].
"Clemson, it's just they need that one player to push them over the edge. When I talk to Coach [Tommy] Bowden, he's always talking about that is going to make the difference – make that one point so they can win the ACC Championship.
"Michigan, [is a contender for the] National Championship, [and has] prestige – it is Michigan.
"Florida, they're coming off winning a National Championship. That's something that's really big. I want to go down there to see what they're talking about.
"Miami is kind of in that transition stage with last year and that big fight and everything, and with the new head coach. Coach [Marquis] Mosely is doing a really good job.
"NC State, they're kind of on the same level as North Carolina with the change of coaching staff. They're bringing in big time recruits and big time coaches from Boston College and everything."
According to Adams, Clemson, UNC, and Virginia Tech have separated themselves from the pack of favorites, with a slim edge going for the Tigers.
"Clemson is probably the leader right now," said Adams. "But it's really close. It's not like they're a standout number one.
"It's Clemson, V-Tech, North Carolina – they're all really, really close. I really can't say whose number one."
A star on the track, Adams says a school's track program will play "a pretty major part" in his final decision.
"I want to go to a school where I feel like I can help at both sports and excel at both sports," said Adams. "I look at the [football] programs; I look at the [football] coaches; I look at how many All-Americans and stuff like that; and then I look at the track program. If they have a good track program, if the school feels at home to me, that's the school I'm going to choose."
Four track programs stand out in Adams' mind.
"Clemson is on the up-and-coming right now," said Adams. "They got Trent Guy. He's number one in the 100 [meter] in the nation. They got some big time recruits. They got Travis Padgett, third in the nation. They have big time track athletes there.
"Florida definitely has great 400 [meter] runners, great 200 [meter] runners. They're definitely one of the elite track programs.
"V-Tech, they're coming up. They have great [track] facilities – indoor track.
"And North Carolina, they've got a good track program. Coach [Antonio] Pettigrew is world renown and is an Olympian himself, so he knows what he's talking about."
What won't play much of a factor, however, are the decisions of his teammates.
"When we first got our first offers, we were like ‘All right, we're all going to go to the same school,'" said Adams. "But we've kind of gotten independent. We want to go to the place that caters to us the best, the places where we feel we can make the biggest difference. It would be nice [to play with any of my teammates]."
The next step for Adams is to set up official visits. He hopes to begin to schedule dates as soon as possible with his trips being during the season.
"[I'm going to take official visits to] definitely Clemson, definitely Florida, definitely Virginia Tech and then the other two are kind of loose. I'm not sure if those spots will be filled by Michigan and North Carolina or NC State or something like that."
Adams doesn't have a set timetable for making a verbal commitment.
"If I get three or four [official] visits under my belt and I feel like ‘All right this is where I want to be,' I'll make the decision," said Adams. "But until then, I'll say [I'll decide] after the football season."