• Class: Junior (Eligibility: 2)
• On The Depth Chart: Although red-shirt freshman Tony Jones Jr. was the talk of spring football and junior Dexter Williams impressed in the Blue-Gold Game, Adams is the clear No. 1 running back.
• Post-Spring Status: Ascending
JOSH ADAMS AT HIS BEST
Adams came on strong after Tarean Folston, and in particular, C.J. Prosise were sidelined with injuries in ’15. He rushed for 147 yards in Game 9 vs. Pittsburgh, 141 a week later against Wake Forest (including a Notre Dame record 98-yarder) and 168 in the regular-season finale vs. Stanford.
Despite battling a hamstring injury in ’16, Adams matched his freshman season with four 100-yard games and exceeded his 835-yard rookie year (933 yards) by coming on strong over the final five games. His best performance was a warrior-like 17-carry, 180-yard effort in the Game 12 vs. USC.
“I have to do a better job of starting strong and finishing strong. I felt like I didn’t do that last year…I felt stronger (at the end of ’16). I didn’t feel that strong at the beginning of the season battling (a hamstring injury). I was able to improve. I want to make that carry over into this season.”
BEST CASE SCENARIO
Adams will be Notre Dame’s go-to back once again in 2017 after accumulating 1,768 yards on 275 carries (6.4-yard average) and 11 touchdowns in his first two seasons with the Irish. Barring a physical setback, Adams is the man with the football in his hands when the game is on the line. In Chip Long’s offense, his receptions (21-193 in ‘16) likely will rise as well.
WORST CASE SCENARIO
With Long calling the shots, Williams and Jones Jr. likely will get more touches. Adams may have to split time a bit more, which would give him a better chance to stay fresh throughout the entire 2017 season.
With his 1,768 yards as a freshman-sophomore, Adams gained more on the ground among Notre Dame running backs in his first two years than all but Darius Walker (1,982), Allen Pinkett (1,926 yards) and Autry Denson (1,874). In terms of size and running-style, think Vagas Ferguson (3,472 yards from 1976-79), or more recently, Ryan Grant (2001-04).
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
Adams has a chance to finish his Notre Dame career among the most productive backs in school history. If he matches his average per his first two seasons, he’ll be seventh on the all-time chart behind No. 6 Jerome Heavens (2,682 yards) upon the conclusion of the 2017 season. If he stays at Notre Dame through the 2018 season, he’ll likely settle in behind Nos. 1-2 Denson (4,318 yards) and Pinkett (4,131 yards).