Randy York's N-sider
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Somehow, Demoine Adams thinks the stars were lined up when he decided to take recruiting into his own hands during the summer of his junior year in high school in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
He had talent, intelligence and confidence. He just wanted someone to notice, so he told himself to "shoot for the stars" when he checked out summer football camps.
The financial analysis favored Lincoln, so Adams started working extra hours at a local movie house, selling tickets and popcorn to earn a $220 round-trip airfare to Lincoln and pay a $150 camp fee. It was a stretch, but the 6-2, 215-pound defensive end scratched up enough cash to make the trip.
On the flight to Lincoln, reality set in. "I had to admit to myself that I just wanted somebody . . . anybody . . . to get a glimpse of me," he said. "In my head, being in the shadows of a championship stadium was enough. All I really expected was to get the attention of some smaller schools."
Misguided thoughts were tempered quickly. Adams caught the eye of a legendary coach. Before he left Nebraska, Tom Osborne told him that he was "impressed with my performance and impressed with my speed," Adams recalled. "He told me they would keep in touch with me my senior year."
The minute Osborne delivered those words, the lights went on in Adams' head and the curtains went up on his career. "That's when I realized I had potential I didn't even know I had," he said. "By the time I landed back in Arkansas, my whole mentality had changed. I told myself the sky was the limit. My goal was to work as hard as I could to prepare myself for improvement every single day."
Others Followed Huskers' Lead
Word travels fast in recruiting circles. Once coaches found out that Adams would visit Nebraska, other offers poured in. After Nebraska, visits were set up for Missouri, Ole Miss and Arkansas. Oklahoma and Texas A&M also made contact.
Adams chose the program that won his heart that summer. He arrived at Nebraska and put so much effort into football that he almost flunked out of school his first semester. "I was below a 2.0," he said. "I had to take 18 hours the second semester. I got a tutor for every class - political science, geography, history and math. My tutors encouraged me and taught me how to study.
"I poured everything I had into my academic performance," Adams said. "By the first semester of my sophomore year, I was achieving a 4.0 for 18 hours in addition to playing football. I had gone from an academic slacker with very little confidence to a serious-minded student who wanted the same kind of perfection in the classroom that I wanted on the field."
Academic performance, Adams decided, is just like athletic performance. You get out of it what you put into it.
Adams accelerated so much academically that he graduated in three years and spent his last two years at Nebraska playing football and attending graduate school.
After college, he played two years with the Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian Football League, a half season on the practice squad of the Green Bay Packers and a full season on the practice squad of the Tennessee Titans. He also spent a year in Arena Football with Nashville and San Jose teams.
Academics Trumps Strength Feats
Always one to push himself, Adams could bench press 400 pounds in high school and reached 500 pounds as a Lifter of the Year at Nebraska. But he's fondest of the conversion he made academically.
"In college, I was president of a student-athlete group called Your Degree First, and I still advise that group," he said. "I loved being a Blackshirt, and I loved playing on a team that competed for a national championship. But more than anything, I loved what I was able to accomplish academically.
"The practice field, the strength facility and Game Day were important parts of my life, but what I did there didn't determine what I do now. My job is the result of what I did in the classroom. Nebraska pushed me and inspired me, and I'm thankful every day that I decided to come here."
Demoine Adams Profile
Name: Demoine Rishad Adams
Residence: Lincoln, Nebraska
Family: Two dogs (Granddaddy, 7; Scrappy, 2)
Why I chose Nebraska: Nebraska was the No. 1 team in the country when I was finishing high school in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. I paid my own way to summer football camp, and they were the first to recognize my potential and the first to offer me a scholarship. Nebraska differentiated itself in all categories that were important to me, but one sticks out: their reputation for turning ordinary players into extraordinary players.
Why Nebraska was a good decision: It's hard for me to count all the ways, but I know the most important - Nebraska's relentless emphasis on the academic side. It's real. It's genuine. It's consistent, and it's a lot of hard work. Nebraska understands how academic rigor and athletic rigor go hand-in-hand. Once I got here, I increased the level of expectations I set for myself in both areas. Academics gave me a different perspective of my self-potential. Once I embraced it, I understood how it could set me up for the rest of my life.
What I'm doing now: I'm the academic program coordinator in the Office of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. I support the William H. Thompson Learning Community and work with Susan Buffett scholarship students.
Most memorable moment as a Husker: When I was a redshirt freshman, I returned a fumble 38 yards for a touchdown against Iowa State. My most memorable accomplishment was leading the team in sacks and getting to play for a national championship in the Rose Bowl.
Most memorable moment in life: Earning two degrees - a bachelor's in Political Science and a master's in Counseling and Psychology. It made my grandparents very proud.
Philosophy of sports: Preparation breeds confidence. Once you see where you're going, then everything you do must correspond with where you're going.
Philosophy of life: The atmosphere you create determines the product you produce.