Practice Tour: Josh Adams

CHESHIRE, Conn. --- This past offseason, Danny O'Day received one of the best gifts a high school coach could receive when Josh Adams transferred into Cheshire Academy.

"You add a kid like Josh and it makes a huge difference," O'Day said. "First and foremost, he's a fantastic kid… He's an All-American caliber receiver and just an excellent player overall."

Following the 2007 season, Paul Gonnella, who currently serves as UNC's Director of Player Personnel, resigned as head coach of Cambridge (Mass.) Rindge & Latin School. That, coupled with his plans to verbally commit to UNC, influenced Adams to transfer.

"The academic standing at my other school wasn't high enough," Adams said. "I felt me going to Carolina – it's a high academic school – so I needed to go to a high academic [high] school."

A phone conversation with O'Day, a friend of Gonnella's, convinced Adams to transfer to Cheshire Academy.

"I decided to come [to Cheshire] not for football but for academics, because football-wise I was all set," Adams said. "This year is just to get some stats and get everything sharp, but I wanted to get my grades as good as possible and my SATs as good as possible."

In January, Adams enrolled at Cheshire Academy.

"Everybody knew me already because they heard I was going to come to school [at Cheshire]. So I came in, got adjusted to the schedule academically, and jumped into basketball."

Before Adams stepped foot on Cheshire Academy's campus, O'Day already had high expectations for the 6-foot-4, 200-pounder.

"I'm good friends with his old coach, so he and I discussed him at length before [Adams] got here," O'Day said. "…I knew him. I knew how he played. Other than film, I had not seen him in person before he came here."

However, Gonnella didn't tell O'Day about Adams' unmatched worth ethic, especially in practice.

"He practices so hard," O'Day said. "Just watching what he does, how he does it, how he goes about his business is something that makes a huge difference on your team. [The other players] see that kind of kid who has that kind of ability not dogging it, going all out all the time, leading stretches, leading breakout sessions – all of those things Josh does."

Adams will start at both ‘Z' receiver (flanker) and free safety.

"Anything that needs to be done, I'll go do it," Adams said. "Put me at linebacker, I'll do linebacker. I'll do anything for the team."

Cheshire runs a multiple offense that is heavy on pro sets and spread formations. O'Day expects to throw the ball 60-65-percent of time, with Adams being the focal point on just about every play call.

"Josh is going to play a big role," O'Day said. "It's easy to be a coach with a kid like that. You've go to get him the ball, you've got to get him touches. He can make things happen, so we're going to try to, in various different ways, get him the ball. He'll be a big part of each of the packages and then there'll probably even be a McFadden-type of package for him as well."

Defensively, Adams will man the middle third zone of Cheshire's cover-3 defense.

"I'm just going to be free out there to do what I do best and just roam out there," Adams said.

"He's a ball hawk," O'Day said. "He does a fantastic job getting to the ball… He'll be our last line of defense kind of guy. It will make everybody pause for the ball over the middle. His ability to leap and his ball skills are going to work defensively for us very, very well."

Despite being a big-play threat as a kick returner, Adams will only see situational reps at kickoff and punt return.

"It will be a little bit more of spot duty there for Josh, because we've got to get him off the field at times," O'Day said. "We'll find places, as far as that's concerned. We have a couple other returners that will be good back there, too. When we need it is when you'll see [Adams] back there."

On the punt team, Adams will normally line up at gunner. However, occasionally Adams, who O'Day says is the best punter on the team, will line up at punter to throw the opponent off.

In addition to his on-field duties, Adams aims to make an impact off the field.

"I want to be a leader [and] teach the young kids how to play the game, because I know some of these kids are out here for the first time," Adams said. "I just want to be a role model and make sure everyone on the team knows what to do in every situation of the game."

Although he has only practiced with his new team for roughly a week, Adams has high expectations for the fall.

"I'm looking to go 8-0 [and] make it to the championship, because I've never won a championship before," Adams said. "I think the team that we have now – in the trenches we have the size and the speed, outside we have the receivers, and defensively we have the defensive backs and the linebackers and we have the front four – I think we should be pretty good. As long as we come together as a team, we should be ok."

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