COLUMBIA — A few weeks ago, Paul Adams sat back and asked himself a serious question.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
He thought: if he were to receive a football scholarship offer from the likes of Tennessee, Vanderbilt or Clemson — programs that had begun to show interest — would that be enough to overcome the positive impression Missouri had already made on him?
“Missouri was by far by favorite, just because of the coaches, staff, players and environment,” said Adams, a three-star offensive tackle for Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville, Tenn. “And I really could not think of another school I wanted to go to.”
So on May 17, Adams followed his instincts and became the 10th player in the Class of 2014 to verbally commit to the Tigers and coach Gary Pinkel. Even better for Missouri, it didn’t take long for Adams and Christ Prep teammate Thomas Richard — who is also committed to the Tigers — to start trying to lure other recruits to Columbia with them.
“I consider Thomas a brother, the most genuine guy I’ve ever met,” Adams said. “We always talk about who we would want to make a difference on our team, so we’re recruiting the guys we want to be around for the next four years, guys with character who are also good football players.”
Among the uncommitted 2014 prospects with Missouri offers that Adams and Richard have been trying to establish relationships with include three-star Missouri City, Texas, running back Vic Enwere, four-star O’Fallon, Ill., defensive end Dewayne Hendrix and two-star DeSoto, Texas, cornerback Nick Orr.
Adams said he and Richard reach out to the players via Twitter, and used their “courtship” of Enwere — a 6-foot-1, 213-pounder who recently told Rivals.com that he had Missouri in his top five — as an example.
“Vic is a guy that can be a game-changer,” Adams said. “Missouri is a passing offense, but we could give him the ball and change the game up a bit … Vic knew somewhat about Missouri, but me and Thomas both started direct messaging him on Twitter. We’re just trying to do anything positive we can.”
Adams said he and Richard have also exchanged text messages with prospects throughout Tennessee, including four-star defensive back Rashaan Golden and three-star defensive tackle Michael Sawyers (both are from Nashville) and four-star athlete Derek Barnett from Brentwood.
“For the most part, yes sir, they’ve been listening,” Adams said.
But while Adams, who stands 6 feet 6 and weighs 270 pounds, has been doing his part to help Missouri on the recruiting trail, it’s safe to say the coaching staff also views his recent commitment as a boon for a class that features five three-star players, two two-star players and three players who have yet to receive a ranking from Rivals.
Furthermore, Adams is the Tigers’ third commitment from Tennessee, along with Richard and two-star Thompson’s Station cornerback Finis Stribling IV. He chose Missouri over a host of other schools, including Cincinnati, Memphis, Mississippi, Mississippi State and South Florida.
“He’s kid that is a natural at the position — he does a lot of things really well that you can’t coach,” said Christ Presbyterian coach Ingle Martin. “Just getting on to second-level defenders, knowing how long to block down before he releases … for him, the next four to five years will be about developing physically and practicing the techniques he’s been taught.”
Adams, however, has already grown plenty over the last two years. He began his sophomore season as a rather light 195-pound left tackle, but Martin expects the three-year starter to weigh about 285 by Signing Day, giving him a nice combination of size and athleticism.
“Since he’s started on the offensive line, we’ve gone 25-3 in the two years we’ve been here,” Martin said of Adams, who was also a reserve on the school’s two-time defending state championship varsity basketball team.
New receivers coach Pat Washington served as the lead recruiter for Adams, who likes his chances at playing early at Mizzou and sees his commitment as solid. The Tigers have also received verbals from tackle Michael Fairchild of Blue Valley West and guard Kevin Pendleton of Lee’s Summit West.
“I’m 100 percent a Missouri Tiger,” Adams said. “I was going to go to camps this summer to get scholarship offers but I cancelled those …I’m not going to any junior days, either. I just want to focus on my senior season.”