With a third consecutive state championship looming on the horizon, Adams, a five-star defensive tackle prospect who is one of the top recruits in the country, and his teammates were preparing to make state history with a victory. But with top coaches from around the country heading through the doors at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro to see Adams, the player himself offered up some reassurance to Sanders, his head coach.
"It's been really difficult for him, but Corey gave me the commitment that this will be the best game of his life," Sanders told BuckeyeSports.com one day prior to the title game. "The game is huge. It's against our rival that we hate. There's all kinds of stuff, but Corey gave me his word that he is going to tear it up this week."
Adams then backed his word up Dec. 6 by helping lead the Sabercats to a 38-0 pasting of Scottsdale Chaparral. The win capped a prep career that saw Adams and his teammates bring home three straight state titles and put together a 33-game winning streak in the process.
This one was made more difficult for Adams by the fact that he has college recruiters from around the country knocking on his doorstep. Sanders said "you've got to be pretty special" to be allowed access to the 6-3, 288-pound Adams during the week prior to the title game.
Count OSU recruiting coordinator John Peterson and defensive coordinator Jim Heacock among the group of special people, then. Both were in town Dec. 4 for the entire day, checking out the school and observing Adams at practice.
"Corey is very interested in Ohio State," Sanders said. "It's their defensive coordinator, they've handled everything first class so they got to spend as much time as they wanted to with Corey."
The Buckeyes were not alone in their access to Adams, however. Nebraska head coach Bo Pellini made a Dec. 1 trip to the school, while Boise State head coach Chris Petersen was there the same day as the OSU coaches.
His plans moving forward are not subject to change. Adams will take his final official visit to USC on Dec. 12, and from there he will announce his decision at halftime of the Under Armour All-American Bowl on Jan. 5. He has already taken official visits to OSU, Nebraska and Arizona State, but the Cornhuskers are not believed to be a major player for his services.
But even with college coaches coming and going and a major decision in the near future, Adams was focused on finishing his prep career on a high note. For that, his head coach praised him.
"It's a lot of credit to Corey and how he's handled this whole thing in general and it's also a credit to him that this is a priority to him," Sanders said.
The Buckeyes are not done with their visits to Arizona to check on Sanders. On Dec. 17, head coach Jim Tressel will make an appearance at Saguaro.
For now, though, the combined visit of Heacock and Peterson gave the town a buzz, Sanders said.
"They're both great guys and they've both done a great job with Corey," he said. "When guys like that come into the community, we have our local eating places and I sent them off. I had Corey show them where the barbecue place is and they went up. The people at the barbeque place are obviously football fans and that had an impact on our whole community. I've gotten e-mails saying ‘thanks for sending the Ohio State guys up for lunch.'
"It's been quite an impact when those guys come in and they all know Coach Tressel is coming. When he comes in, it's going to be a bigger deal. Ohio State football, there's a lot of fans all over the place."