Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Florida Gators [Print without images]

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
ESPN 150 S Adams talks contenders

By William Wilkerson

Get ESPN 150 safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) in any competitive environment and you’ll begin to understand very quickly why he’s so coveted.

Take for example the Dallas Nike Football Training Camp in Allen, Texas, on April 7 when he set the tone in 1-on-1 drills by shoving a wide receiver three yards behind the line of scrimmage at the snap of the ball.

Adams, the No. 23 player overall and No. 3 safety, isn’t naming any favorites. But we caught up with him to get a sense for where he stands with a few of the programs generally thought to be in the mix.

Jamal Adams
ESPN 150 safety Jamal Adams isn't naming favorites and isn't in a rush to commit to a school.
That includes the Longhorns, who would love to use him in a role similar to that of first-round NFL draft pick Kenny Vaccaro.

“It’s a great program," Adams said. "Coach [Mack] Brown has been doing a great job with them for the past years. Like he said, he thinks they are going to get back to the top where they deserve to be and I think they will be pretty soon. Great, great team. Great coaching staff. Coach [Duane] Akina definitely puts a lot of DBs in the NFL from what I’ve seen. That’s one of the big reasons why I am definitely interested in them.”

HornsNation: Your relationship with Texas cornerback Quandre Diggs has really blossomed since you two exchanged numbers at an open practice in Austin. What’s that meant to you?

Jamal Adams: He’s definitely like a big brother to me. He doesn’t pressure me into anything like going to Texas. He just wants me to make the best decision for me. He really just gives advice if I need it. I haven’t asked too much from him. But we catch up here and there. We chop it up once in a while, talk about the heat.

HN: Your father, George Adams, was the 19th overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. Your godfather, Joker Phillips, is the wide receivers coach of the Florida Gators. So you’ve been around professional and college coaches/athletes all your life. Here you are, a high school junior chopping it up with one of the top DBs in the country. Is that surreal to you or are you passed that stage?

Adams: I mean, growing up I have been around a lot of professionals. It matured me a lot knowing the professional lifestyle. It matured me seeing another professional. When I see a professional I look at it as another role model I can look up to and just learn from.

HN: Does it give Florida an edge that Phillips is your godfather?

Adams: It makes a difference but then again it doesn’t because I am not going to pick a school based on a coach that I know. It’s not like he can get me on the field. I don’t want people to think that. I want people to know that I competed for a job as a freshman based on me and that I’m not getting it handed to me because my godfather coaches there. I don’t want that. But the Gators are definitely high on my list. It’s always been a school that I’ve looked at. It’s in the SEC. Coach [Will] Muschamp is doing a good job with them up there. I am definitely looking at them.

HN: Do you like the fact that Muschamp is a defensive-minded head coach? Does that help Florida?

Adams: It makes a big difference with him being back there. We have a great relationship talking on the phone. It definitely makes a great relationship when you know the head coach is the safeties coach as well. It helps a lot.

HN: Texas A&M is a program that I know has made a big impression on you lately, right?

Adams: All I can say in one word about the Aggies is 'swag.' They got that swag up there. It is definitely turning into an SEC program. Coach [Kevin] Sumlin and the coaching staff are doing a great job out there. Everyone is cool out there. They have a great fan base. The Aggies are definitely a school that I am looking at as well.

HN: Oklahoma has been a school that’s long been linked to your name. Is that still the case or has that cooled a bit?

Adams: I don’t really have a top school but I am definitely interested in them. I’ve been down there quite a bit. Oklahoma has been good to me. I just have to see a couple of things from a few schools, including their school, before I make a decision.

HN: Is there a school out there that we are underestimating with you?

Adams: One school that really hasn’t been out there is LSU. Man, ever since I was young it has always been a dream school of mine. They didn’t jump into the recruiting process because of a kid that went to my school in the past, they had a little miscommunication. Them not jumping into it early with me, I didn’t know if they really wanted me or whatnot. When I finally talked to them after the ESPN NFTC they definitely told me that they want to get to know me. They told me they were sorry for the reason they didn’t come sooner. I have always been interested in LSU. I am looking forward to learning more about them.

HN: Do you feel like you are getting closer to narrowing things down a bit?

Adams: I wouldn’t say I am up in the air or clustered. I am in the middle with everything. I am next going to break it down to 12 schools after spring ball.