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‘Thunder foot’ Adams worked to get noticed at Pigskin Classic
Ryan Adams was easily the best player in the area at his position last football season. But unlike scores of other great players and even teammates, he wasn’t close to landing a college athletic scholarship.
No matter that he had crisscrossed the Midwest, attending every summer football camp he could find. In his estimation, he went to 30 during his high school career at Carroll.
“The only way that you’re going to get a scholarship is to kick in front of them,” Adams said. “I went all over, all summer.”
The message was the same everywhere he went: We like you, but …
“It was up and down like a rollercoaster emotionally,” he said.
Adams was living the life of a frustrated kicker.
At 6 feet 1 inch and 195 pounds, Adams ably earned the tag “thunder foot.”
He didn’t just kick off; he rocketed unreturnable bombs – 18 of 25 – into the end zone, even into stiff wind.
Two of his five field goals last season were 52-yarders, both on grass fields. Others went for 44 and 37 yards.
His punts also whistled, good for an average of 38.7 yards.
But still, no takers. Instead, plenty of programs dangled a runner-up offer.
“I ended up No. 2 at a lot of places; Michigan, Toledo, UC,” he said.
“They would offer to another guy and they said that if he didn’t commit, then they would offer to me.”
That sounded good, then got old real fast. No program contacted him to say a scholarship was available.
That’s not unusual for kickers and punters. Like long snappers, those spots are after-thoughts compared to the other starting positions. And that’s with 65 scholarships available to Division I programs.
Carroll coaches were just as frustrated. A bulk email entitled “Kicker with a big leg” was sent to scores of programs. It worked.
Southeastern Louisiana was smitten with video of Adams kicking.
“They saw it right there, called me up the next day, flew me down the following week and then just offered,” said Adams, shaking his head in near-disbelief even all these months later.
It doesn’t matter to Adams that he’ll have to travel to the Gulf of Mexico (Hammond, La.) just to play football. All he wanted was a chance, and he got it with the Southland Conference school.
Here’s what the Lions are getting: Playing for the South, Adams nailed field goals of 50 and 41 yards in Friday night’s 16-13 loss to the North in the White Allen Pigskin Classic all-star football game at Welcome Stadium.
He barely missed a 55-yarder. In practice at the stadium this week he was good from 63 and 62 yards.
Who wouldn’t want that kind of leg power? Apparently, a lot of programs.
“It’s tough,” Adams said during the Classic.
“I’m hoping that this brings a big future to me at Southeastern and hopefully maybe into the pros.”
By Marc F. Pendleton, Dayton Daily News