28 February 2007


Just try and imagine the following scenario: Work out till you can’t move on Friday, then you run five miles afterwards. The next morning you wake up at 6 o’clock in the morning, get to the airport, and board a plane with seats that are way too small. After you get off the plane and wait on your baggage, you grab a cab; “RCA Stadium, please.” As soon as you get there, a microphone is shoved in your face. People are measuring your arms and hands, pinching your skin, making you lift more weights even though your arms are about to fall off… time starts to fly by. You put on a shirt with “Adams” pressed on the back that they give you. Then you head out to the field, stretch out, tighten your shoelaces, and run a 4.64 in the 40-yard dash, the fastest out of all the other defensive linemen. Your fate is sealed and your agent comes up to tell you that “you don’t have to worry about money anymore” before he scurries off in an Ari Gold-like fashion to scream at someone on his cell phone. The experience of the NFL combine might have gone something like this former Clemson Defensive End Gaines Adams. NFL scouts have been salivating over tapes of Gaines Adams crushing tiny UNC players for a few months now and they have been dying to get him on a football field to see what he can do first hand. All eyes were on the consensus All-American at this weeks NFL combine and he did not disappoint at all.

Gaines Adams: Still lurking about in Cam Sexton's nightmares.

Along with his performance at the 40-yard dash, Gaines also posted a broad jump of 9’11” and 35 inches on his vertical jump. In short, Gaines Adams is everything the world of professional sports thought that he was: an athlete in all sense of the word. Adams has been rated by many people as the fourth most valuable player in this years draft, however, he probably won’t go until the seventh pick of the first round. One thing is for sure, he has separated himself from the rest as the top defensive lineman in the draft, leapfrogging the previous holder of that title, Jamaal Anderson from Arkansas. The things that scouts are most impressed with are his wing span, his mental presence on the field, and his hard work ethic. The only thing that seems to hinder Adams is his lower body size, although many have speculated that he could add another good 15 to 25 pounds of muscle with the correct weight training program. On the flip side, something that pro scouts have picked up on is his ability to drop back into coverage if needed because of his size and speed. He has also given some scouts a look as an outside linebacker for a 3 – 4 defensive scheme because of his weakness as well. He is doing a great job of making lemonade from his lemons. He improved his discipline and technique against the run as well during his junior and senior seasons under the tutelage of Clemson defensive line coach Chris Rumph and defensive coordinator Vic Koenning. The two coaches helped Adams hone his valuable skills as well as helped him be aware of things that helped take him to the next level. Adams will join his former teammate and defensive line buddy Charles Bennett in the NFL ranks. Last year, Bennett was drafted in the seventh round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I heard tingks... good tingks."

Fortunately for the Clemson football program, they can now brag that along with Adams they sent five Tigers to the combine this year. Unfortunately for our football team, two of those players never got to complete their senior season in Death Valley. Former Tiger linebacker Anthony Waters ended his season last year in the first game via a torn ACL when the Tigers trumped Florida Atlantic. Waters used his time wisely though, making leaps and bounds with his upper body strength and providing leadership and help to his teammates from the sidelines. Waters, still a little shaky on his feet, did not participate in running drills but was able to compete in everything else. On the bench press, he had 25 repetitions of 225 pounds. The other former Tiger, cornerback C.J. Gaddis, decided to forego his senior year and enter the draft early after his rollercoaster junior year last season. Gaddis possess great strength as well as blazing speed, attributes that helped him make his decision to jump early for the NFL. He ran a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash, one of the faster times for day six. He also had 20 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press which is impressive seeing as most defensive backs in the draft only manage to make it to the mid-teens. Many experts thought he needed another year from his up and down season last year, though physically he is more than ready for the next level and can learn what he needs to from coaches on his further team. Personally, I think he just wasn't ready mentally. He'd constantly forget his assignments and get blown deep. It reminded me of Ty Hill in his junior season. I think that if he had stayed, he would have been an All-American easily. I think he won't do jack sh*t his first few years in the league, if he does anything at all. That senior year in college is so crucial for maturation and finishing of players and it gets over looked way too much. But hey, I can see his side of the point. I can imagine his viewpoint as being the following: I'm in a program that's not going to win any rings next year and my coaches left Anthony Waters in to tear his ACL late in a lopsided game, who's to say they won't do it to me and get me hurt?

He never listened to our coaching staff, what makes you think
he would listen to the "experts"?

The other two former Clemson players that were invited to the NFL combine are Duane Coleman and Chansi Stuckey. Both men put up average numbers but that can be attributed to their off season schedules. All is well however, because both make up for their average numbers at the combine from their performances during games and their leadership qualities. Stuckey and Coleman have game changing abilities and attributes. Stuckey is known for simply making jaw-dropping circus catches that he makes seem impossibly easy. Coleman seems to have a knack for knocking lungs loose and having perfect coverage technique and closing speed. Also, Coleman is one mean motherf*cker on the football field. He is just crazy enough to punch someone twice his size right in the face (2003 Peach Bowl & 2004 Brawl w/ USC... see below). You need a meanstreak in the pros to survive and Coleman has a great one. Although, his worries should be focused elsewhere as he has been red flagged for his off the field problems, more than likely spurned by his recent arrest on charges of possession of marijuana.

Duane Coleman is almost Mike Tyson scary... which is... you know... scary.

Overall, Clemson’s combine invitees gave solid performances that can only help them with their transition to the NFL. Clemson has set it’s pro-day for NFL scouts to take place on Tuesday, March 13th.