Tuesday, May 19, 2009

When Strength is not enough

On April 19, Winston-Salem Mt. Tabor High linebacker Sean Adams participated in the Schuman/Rivals Underclassmen’s Combine in Kannapolis. There, the 191-pound Adams bench-pressed 185 pounds 33 times.

That was more repetitions than any of the 250-pound defensive tackles could manage; more than any of the 300-pound offensive tackles could push up. The most, in fact, of any player in camp.

Then, at a Shrine Bowl combine in Burlington May 2, Adams threw up 31 reps on the bench, again the best figure in camp.

And it hardly matters. Problem is, Adams was also measured at those camps, and he is a tad over 5-foot-9. And today, strength is trumped in football by height and speed. With 40-yard dash speeds in the 4.9-second range, he isn’t quite big enough or fast enough to play LB in the ACC or SEC.

We tell you that only to make a point. Since I have jumped back into college recruiting again, I’ve had several emails from folks pointing out the statistics of this guy and that guy, and wondering why I didn’t include them on our recent Carolinas’ Top Five prospects by position lists.

Invariably, the kids—while obviously great prep players—aren’t big or fast enough to be considered top flight college prospects. Recruiters aren’t ignoring them because they don’t know about them. They know, and they also know, that at the BCS level, size combined with speed and strength is everything.

Still, I can’t help but pull for Adams. His tremendous strength points to an obviously good work ethic, and you can expect him to have an enjoyable college football career. It will just have to happen at a lower level. –Stan Olson

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