- National Ranking: Adams was a four-star prospect per the 24/7 composite rankings. He was Scout.com’s 88th-ranked player in the 2017 class and its fourth-ranked inside linebacker, No. 1 in the East Region
- Irish Illustrated Rank: Adams ranked 16th on our National Signing Day list of 21 incoming Irish freshmen. His lowest ranking among the staff was No. 19 with a high mark of No. 10 overall.
- Position(s): Mike LB, Buck LB
- Likelihood of Freshman Redshirt: High
2017 PATH TO PLAYING TIME
Adams did not fare well in the 2017 Under Armour All-American game, but his rough week in Orlando was due in large part to a trait he displayed long coveted by football coaches at every level: he played hurt.
Adams revealed that he played the bulk of his high school season with a torn ligament (ulnar collateral) in his elbow. The concern from evaluators, however, is the inside ‘backer’s suddenness and foot speed, not the future health of his elbow.
Standing in his way this fall at the inside positions are a pair of senior starters (Nyles Morgan and Greer Martini), a seasoned junior backup with starting experience (backup Buck Te’von Coney), and true Mike prospect Jonathan Jones, who redshirted last fall.
Sophomore Jamir Jones and junior Josh Barajas also worked inside during the spring.
Barring a niche role on kickoff return (blocking), a redshirt campaign is likely for Adams.
Morgan and Martini will no longer be in the fold after this fall and Adams will thus go toe-to-toe with the aforementioned Jonathan Jones, a three-star prospect in 2016, and perhaps the highly touted but not yet involved Barajas, the latter of which did not distinguish in the spring.
(Look for Jamir Jones to work along the defensive line as his career progresses.)
Adams is blessed with the instincts, timing, and in-the-box tackling acumen necessary for a collegiate inside linebacker. His true test will occur in pass coverage – a staple of the modern era. Bereft of ideal foot speed, Adams will rely on mastering pursuit angles and the various tricks of the trade necessary to excel against the horizontal spread passing attacks that populate the sport.
While he projects as a true middle linebacker, fellow incoming freshman and four-star prospect Drew White appears better suited for the Buck role. At least in future seasons, the two are unlikely to go head-to-head for the same role.
Physically, Adams is a carbon copy of 2008 Charlie Weis-era recruit Carlo Calabrese (both stood 6’2” and weighed 225 pounds during their senior seasons). Calabrese was a four-star prospect, #234 on the SCOUT 300 and ranked as the 14th inside linebacker in the East Region (Adams came in at No. 4).
Calabrese redshirted as a true freshman under Weis in 2009. He ended his career with 26 starts and 49 games played during his time in South Bend.
“When you evaluate linebacker, there’s football IQ, there’s intensity, drive, toughness, all those things. But there are also instincts. You have to be able to see as an inside linebacker, read whatever keys his high school coach has given him. That’s the one thing you notice when you flip on David’s film. There’s not a lot of hesitation when he sees what he’s supposed to be seeing.” – Irish recruiting coordinator, Mike Elston