S.C. State's Adams earns San Francisco treat

49ers select former Rock Hill High cornerback; Falcons sign Bush

The (Rock Hill) HeraldApril 25, 2010 

It didn't matter to Phillip Adams that the NFL draft made it to the seventh round before his name was called Saturday afternoon.

Adams, a former standout cornerback at Rock Hill High and South Carolina State, said he realized that no matter which round he went in, he would have to work hard to win a spot on a team. He got that opportunity when the San Francisco 49ers called his name, the 224th player chosen.

San Francisco coach Mike Singletary called Adams, surrounded by family and friends at his parents' home on the south side of Rock Hill, four picks before the 49ers' upcoming selection. Singletary told Adams that if he was available, he would be the team's pick.

Adams already knew he was going in the seventh round regardless. He had been called by the Green Bay Packers and told the same thing the 49ers told him. The Packers had pick No. 230.

"I can't describe the feeling when I saw my name. I got picked by a team with a great coach and one that is on the way back up," Adams said.

"The three teams I was hoping would pick me were San Francisco, Green Bay and Tampa Bay. So you could say I'm very happy right now. San Francisco has some veteran players in the secondary, so I'll have to play special teams at first. That's fine. I'm feeling blessed by God for my family and me to get this chance."

Adams, a 5-foot-11, 192 pounder, was a member of Rock Hill's 2002 and '04 state championship teams. He also helped lead the Bearcats to the Class 4A basketball championship his senior year.

There was speculation he would get a football scholarship offer from a large Division I school, but he settled for South Carolina State and developed into one of the Bulldogs' star players.

His senior season, he made three interceptions, returning two for scores, and totaled 43 1/2 tackles.

Adams has been living in Texas since the first of the year and working out with a personal trainer to prepare for the draft. His stock in the past two months had been on the rise.

"I didn't mind waiting to be selected because I had been told it would happen," Adams said. "This is one of the most exciting days of my life. I'm ready to do what the 49ers ask of me, and I'm looking forward to playing in the NFL."

Adams joins an impressive list of current NFL players from Rock Hill's two oldest high schools: Rock Hill's Chris Hope (Titans), Ko Simpson and Jonathan Heffney (Lions) and Northwestern's Ben Watson (Browns) and Johnathan Joseph (Bengals).

Hope announced last week that he is sponsoring a celebrity basketball game on May 22 to kick off a charitable organization he is establishing. The first beneficiary will be Adams' mother, Phillis, a teacher who was paralyzed in an auto accident. Proceeds from the event will go toward her medical bills.

Bush joins Falcons

S.C. State defensive back Rafael Bush signed a free-agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons, his agent, Brian Anderson, said.

Bush, a 5-11, 195-pound player out of Williston-Elko High, made 222 career tackles and scored three touchdowns his senior season.

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