South Carolina has added a third tight end to its Class of 2011 recruiting haul.
Scott's Branch tight end Jerell Adams committed to the Gamecocks Monday, choosing USC over fellow finalist Clemson. He becomes the 32nd overall commitment in this class and the third tight end, joining Ardrey Kell’s (N.C.) Drew Owens and McEachern’s (Ga.) Rory Anderson.
USC always led the race to land Adams, but the Tigers had closed the gap in recent weeks. Adams had taken an unofficial visit to Clemson over the weekend but phoned the Tigers’ coaches Monday to tell them he was headed to Columbia instead.
“I think it's a big relief to get it off of him,” Scott's Branch coach Leonard Johnson said. “He's the type of kid that doesn't like to let people down. It was tough for him to call the other coaches and tell them where he decided to go.”
Based on discussions Adams had with USC's coaches last week, the 6-foot-5, 225-pounder will play tight end in Columbia. A prep quarterback with a versatile skill set, some were projecting Adams as a defensive end at the college level.
However, it became apparent during the all-star season that Adams would likely be a better fit on offense. He struggled with the quarterback-to-tight end transition early in the week at Shrine Bowl practice but emerged when the lights came on during the game.
He caught five passes for 62 yards and three scores in South Carolina’s blowout win. A few weeks later, he also had a solid performance in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl at tight end.
“[USC coach Steve] Spurrier thinks he’s going to fit in very well at tight end,” Johnson said. “I think he'll do a good job there for them.
“He can catch the ball and he can get vertical. He’s such a raw talent. His upside is so tremendous. He's just really natural at what he does.”
Adams starred at quarterback in Scott's Branch's run-oriented offense. He was the ultimate chess piece on defense for the Eagles, who utilized him at defensive end, outside linebacker, safety and even corner depending on the situation. He has been timed as fast as 4.53 in the 40-yard dash.
Adams and Anderson are athletic, down-field targets who, at least initially, figure to play a larger role in the passing game. Both need to add bulk to become well-rounded tight ends capable of holding their own in the running game.
A quiet, humble player, Adams is ready to prove he belongs in the SEC.
“I really don’t have a preference,” Adams said of his college position after the Shrine Bowl. “Wherever they put me at I’ll do my best. [I just want to prove] that I’m as good as everybody thinks I am.”
Adams’ decision was likely influenced by those of two close friends, Lake City tailback Shon Carson and Manning defensive tackle Phillip Dukes. Carson is already committed to USC and Dukes, who will announce his decision Tuesday, has been leaning toward the Gamecocks late in the recruiting process.
Jerell Adams game highlights (playing at QB)