Is Adams the next Reggie Nelson?

A player like Reggie Nelson comes along once every 20 years, if you are lucky. Nelson truly changed the way the Gators played defense last season and forced opponents to game plan around him. While no one is ready to dub safety Spencer Adams as the next Reggie Nelson just yet, there definitely are some similarities between the two and Adams is honored just to be mentioned in the same breath as the former Gator great.

(Spencer Adams profile)

“That is one of the biggest compliments I have ever gotten,” said the 6-2, 177-pounder, who hails from Butler High School in Matthews, North Carolina. “I like the way he plays. He can cover, he can hit, and he can tackle. He can do everything. He is fast, athletic and he can catch. If people compare me to him that’s amazing. It is definitely one of the biggest compliments I have ever gotten.”

To truly follow in Reggie Nelson’s footsteps, Adams would need to sign with the Florida Gators. While Adams isn’t a lock to play for the Gators, Florida is certainly one of his favorites.

“I don’t have a top school, but Florida is definitely in the top seven with Clemson, Miami and some of the other schools,” he said. “I don’t have a standout number one.”

There are numerous things about Florida that appeal to Adams including the recent success of several athletic programs and the way the football team performed in the BCS championship game. Adams talked about why the Gators are one of his favorites.

“The national championship caliber talent, the spirit of winning and the overall sports program … it isn’t like they have a weak sport,” said Adams. “The basketball team is national champs. The track team has national champion runners and Olympians. Also, what Florida did in the national championship, being the underdog and nobody picking them and then routing Ohio State the way that they did was impressive. Now everybody knows they are a national championship caliber team and everyone is picking them to win this year with a young team.

“It is the spirit of winning down there. If it is not a national championship it is a failure. I really like the way they concentrate on winning and getting the job done. I’ve talked to the coaches and found out what they are about. They care about you as a person. If you go down there and work, you can play. It isn’t one of those political type schools where if you come in you have to wait as a freshman. At Florida if you come in and work hard you play. That is something that is really appealing to me because I definitely work hard and definitely think I am an elite athlete.”

The Gators didn’t offer Adams as early as some other schools, but still he was thrilled when the offer from the national champs arrived.

“When they offered I really didn’t know what to say,” Adams said. “I’m not going to lie when you say Florida, Ohio State or Michigan, any of those big schools it is intimidating at first.”

Adams has several factors he will consider when evaluating schools.

“I want to feel like the coaching staff truly cares about me,” he said. “For example, if I get hurt will the coaches care? Will the school take care of me? I want to go to a school where I feel like I can make a difference and get the education I need. I want to go somewhere where the coaches and players feel like a family. That is how my high school team is. Everything is real close knit; it is a family type deal. I need somewhere where the atmosphere is real homey.”

The good news for the Gators is that Coach Doc Holliday, who has been recruiting Adams, has already formed a solid bond with the safety.

“He is really cool,” Adams said. “He texts me and everything, but he isn’t overwhelming. He doesn’t call me everyday and every night. I think if I play for Florida then he would definitely be someone I could go talk to about football or any personal problems I might have.”

There have been some rumors flying around the Internet that Adams would follow his brother Jamar Adams to Michigan. While he didn’t rule out Michigan he did say that he and Jamar aren’t even related.

“Everyone thinks Jamar Adams is my brother,” he said. “He did go to my high school, but we aren’t related, at least that I know of.”

Speaking of his high school, Butler is loaded this year with as many as 10 division one prospects including three in the secondary. Adams said it is a tremendous asset to have such talented teammates because they help and push each other.

“All of our DB’s are good in different areas, we all have our strengths and we help make each other better,” Adams said. “We look to each other for help and advice. It is great to have three good football players that all help each other.”

One thing that Adams has taken notice of is the text messages he gets not only from coaches but from also other players.

“At Clemson DaQuan Bowers committed a while ago and he has been texting me,” he said. “So have other Clemson players like Jacoby Ford and C.J. Spiller. It is really cool to have players’ texting me. It makes me feel like they really want me to play with them.”

There are several things that make Adams such a tremendous player. But the first thing you have to mention is his blazing speed.

“I have run some pretty ridiculous 40-times,” he said. “Right now I will say a 4.21. Hand timed people have clocked me at 4.17, 4.18, 4.19 but I just say 4.21.”

After you talk about his speed, you have to discuss what he calls his second biggest strength, his hitting ability.

“I have a little bit of a mean streak,” he said. “I don’t let people stand around. I hit people just to hit them. Definitely my tackling ability is a big strength. On they say I need to work on that but I don’t agree.”

However, Adams isn’t content just sitting back and basking in his success. He is hard at work improving his game as much as possible.

“My foot speed as a defensive back is one of my downfalls,” he said. “I just want to get faster and faster, as fast as possible. Strength wise, I want to start hand cleaning again. I am the only DB that hand cleans 300 pounds. My bench press needs some work. I am benching 255 right now and I just want to get 275,280 before I graduate.”

Last season, Adams recorded 101 total tackles (53 assisted, 48 solo), 10 pass breakups, five tackles for loss, and three interceptions. This season he expects even bigger things and he will also see some time on offense.

“We are putting in some packages for me on offense,” he said. “I am working on my hands and getting ready to play on the offensive side of the ball. Offense is a set thing where you have a play where as defense is a lot more about reactions.”

Whichever school lands Adams will not only be getting a top-notch safety but also a great runner for their track team. No matter where he ends up Adams said he will definitely play football and run track.

“ I am definitely going to run track in college,” he said. “That is something I stress to all the schools that are recruiting me. It is hard to make a decision because during football season it is all about football and during track season it is all about track. I’ve seen other players do it at Clemson and Florida and I look at them and say if they can do it, I can do it. All the schools I have talked to want me to do both. Running track can only make you faster. If you are running track and getting slower then you need to stop. The coaches say they like kids that have the ambition to do both. They like players who can do it and want to do it.”

Adams reports a 2.75 core GPA and a 830 on the math and verbal parts of the SAT. He doesn’t plan to enroll early.

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