Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Texas Longhorns [Print without images]

Monday, February 18, 2013
Watch List safety planning trip to Texas

By William Wilkerson

First the bad news: A certain Watch List safety won't be able to make it to Texas’ junior day on Saturday due to a track meet.

The good news is he’ll make his way to Austin at some point soon, most likely on March 2 to spend some quality time with the Longhorns coaching staff.

Make of it what you will, but the fact that Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron), one of the top safeties in the state, is coming down on his own regard to better familiarize himself with Texas has to be as encouraging a sign as coach Mack Brown and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz can get at this point.

Adams is a hot commodity right now, seemingly receiving a new offer every other day. Last week Arizona, Tennessee and UCLA threw their hats into the mix with the likes of Arkansas, Baylor, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, TCU, Texas A&M and West Virginia.

It’s deserving recognition for someone who puts in the time to hone his craft, but that doesn’t always make it easy to stay focused.

“Really, the first thing I try and do is just keep my head straight,” Adams said. “I try not to focus on [all the attention]. I am trying to break it down here and there, just throwing some things out at my family but really I am just trying to keep my head straight and focus on the bigger picture.”

The bigger picture, as it will be come signing day 2014, is that Adams, in the end, will only be able to sign with one school. But how will he come to that conclusion? Talking it over with his parents is a start.

“I talk to my mom about how far she wants me and if she cares,” Adams said. “I talk to my dad the same way. They say they don’t care, but I really do think they care in my eyes. They just want the best opportunity for me. That’s really the main focus of both.”

The biggest factor a school must be able to have for Adams is the ability to play right away, and with his skill set you really can’t blame him.

“Biggest thing is playing early,” he said. “It just wouldn’t feel right sitting out. I’ve been playing ball since I was 3 years old. So it wouldn’t feel right sitting out.”

That should be an attainable goal should he choose Texas, even though Mykkele Thompson, Josh Turner and Sheroid Evans would all be seniors. Reason being: The Longhorns are selling Adams on becoming the next great strong safety.

“Texas is coming in and saying I can play as a freshman and take over that Kenny Vaccaro role,” he said. “OU is saying the same thing. I spoke with Michigan, and they say the best people play.”

It’s a lot for any high school junior to wrap his head around, especially because college coaches have been known to say whatever it takes to get recruits on campus.

“See, that’s the thing. I have to look at some of the things that they say,” he said. “I have to sit down with them and talk with them some more to figure out what is really going on.”

Adams believes in what the Longhorns are selling him. He is well aware of the fact that they’ve missed out on their top targets at safety the past few seasons and are looking to make a splash with one in 2014.

“They did miss out on two big safeties. But they had pretty good reasons for where they went,” he said. “Landon Collins, for instance, didn’t play his freshman year [at Alabama]. He sat out his whole freshman year, and I know he didn’t want to do that because he is a great back. It’s not fun to sit out. You want to be on the field. It’s better when you win and are on the field than when you are off it.”

Adams also wants to go to a place that he feels comfortable, as any recruit does, and sees Texas as a place that could give him that comfort given that he knows several of the commits already.

“I talk with them frequently,” Adams said. “It would be pretty cool to do that. They found out about me and are trying to get me to Texas. It started with Big [Demetrius] Knox.”

Sometime next week it will continue with the entire Texas coaching staff.