As a Recruit
Adams was a long-time Vanderbilt commit from the Nashville area who was contacted by Georgia Tech late in the recruiting cycle. He hails from Brentwood Academy, a school well known for producing major college football talent. Most recently, Brentwood produced FSU CB/S Jalen Ramsey, who is projected as a Top 5 pick in this year's NFL draft. Adams visited Tech on January 15, then visited Vanderbilt the following weekend. He left Vanderbilt without reaffirming his commitment, and flipped to Georgia Tech soon after. Adams inexplicably had a limited offer sheet, with only 3 reported Power 5 offers from Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, and Kansas. It's curious that Adams didn't have more offers given his location, high school, and talent.
Well, the listed size certainly was correct, that's a big man right there. There's so much to like about this film it's tough to know where to start. We'll start with playing strength. Simply put, Adams was impossible to single block in high school. when faced with a 1 on 1, he would control the blocker and drive him into the backfield, blowing up the play single-handedly. For someone coming out of high school, his strength is exceptional and should help earn him playing time early. In other words, he's physically ready to play in the trenches in college.
Like Jahaziel Lee yesterday, Adams uses his hands well in order to keep blockers from getting their hands on him and controlling him. By slipping off blocks consistently, Adams was able to be a far more disruptive force than expected. Additionally, Adams has exceptional lateral movement skills for a man of his size. Before watching his tape, I was convinced that he would be a bit of a "tree stump." In other words, he would be impossible to move but wouldn't add much value as a pass rusher or in pursuit. I couldn't have been more wrong. He's slippery, he bends well at the waist, and moves naturally. It's rare for a man of Adams' size to be able to move in space as freely as he does. There were also a couple instances where Adams was able to use great technique to avoid cut blocks. He used his hands to force the blocker down, and was able to clear his feet before seamlessly transitioning into pursuit.
Perhaps the most impressive trait shown on tape is Adams' motor. More than any other trait, it is his motor that will likely catch the eye of the coaching staff and lead to playing time as a true freshman. Adams weighs somewhere between 315 and 322 lbs, yet he tracks down players from sideline to sideline, and chases the ball carrier until he is down. Many DTs won't do that or don't have the stamina to do so. To me, the motor was simply the most impressive part of his Adams' game.
Adams does have some areas where he could improve. His pad level off the snap is inconsistent, and he wasn't always great against double teams as a result. He slips out of double teams when getting pushed back, but at the college level he will be asked to eat those blocks so that the LBs can run free. He'll need to stay low consistently in order to do that effectively.
What to Expect
Adams should play this year, as Georgia Tech does not have a true run-stuffer on the roster who can anchor the defense. However, fans should not expect him to come in and dominate on every single play. It's difficult for 18-19 year-olds to come in and play effectively in the trenches. He'll need to spend time in a college strength and conditioning program before we can expect that of him. That said, Adams will make a noticeable impact on the defense this year, even if he rotates with other DTs. Adams will likely play mostly on 1st and 2nd down, and rotate out as Ted Roof goes to his 3rd down dime package. After Patrick Gamble and Francis Kallon graduate, expect Adams to become "the guy" at the DT position for years to come. The Jackets finally found their big man. Now hopefully they can find another.