By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Jalen Adams is fast. There has never been any doubt of the speed the Southmoore wide receiver possesses.
Before he burst onto the scene last year as the SaberCats deep threat, he was racking up medals on the track during his sophomore year.
But now, as he heads into his senior season, Adams knows he has to be more than just a receiver who can run fast. So he has used the offseason to become the playmaker the Cats need him to be.
“I have worked on my speed, side to side speed,” Adams said. “Getting faster that way. Focusing on catching the ball more, being focused on plays, just getting my skill level up, trying to get better overall as a wide receiver.”
As a junior, Adams led Southmoore with 766 yards and eight touchdowns on 39 receptions in his first year as a starter.
Southmoore coach Jeff Brickman is expecting even more from Adams. But he realizes it’s on his shoulders to find ways to get the ball into his hands.
“This year we are going to try to come up with some different ways to get him the football,” Brickman said. “Reverses or maybe even putting him the backfield sometimes and just give him the ball. He’s such a good athlete and smart kid that he can handle it. That’s something I was talking to my offensive line coach about, maybe have a chart sheet for Adams for how many touches a game. To make sure we get him the ball as much as we can. He’s not a big kid, but you don’t want to leave the game with your most explosive athlete not touching the football.”
The problem facing the SaberCats is finding someone to get the ball to Adams. With quarterback Tre Edwards graduating, Southmoore has been searching for his replacement since the spring. No one has stepped up and claimed the position yet.
At times during scrimmages and 7-on-7, it was evident the passing game still has a long way to go. But Adams said he can’t win that department with the type of attitude he brings to the field.
“Need to definitely show encouragement,” Adams said. “Whoever gets in there we’re going to have to support them, Help them out because they are not used to being in these type of predicaments as far as big-time games and big-time situations. Definitely just helping them out. Staying positive. No negative stuff. Carry them on our backs. Whenever I do catch the ball on short passes, I have to make the most out of it. It’s the yards you get after the catch. When I get the ball I just have to make the most of it. And when I’m not getting the ball, I’m encouraging. I run my routes to get other people open. It’s not just about me. It’s about my other teammates, too.”
That is also why Southmoore fans will see Adams lined up on the other side of the ball this year. The coaching staff wants to utilize him as much as they can.
“We are asking him now to learn how to play corner, which he hasn’t done the last two years,” Brickman said. “We feel like the fastest way to score on somebody is to throw a vertical route on somebody. Better have a fast kid right there. There is a lot of technique involved. Not just how fast you are. So he’s trying to learn how to play that.”
While the 5-10, 160 pound Adams is concentrating on helping the Cats this year, he also has his eye on the future. He’s already received offers to play college football at North Texas, Tulsa, Ohio, New Mexico State, Indiana and Air Force.
But he won’t be making any decisions any time soon.
“(My) plan is to probably wait until the end of my senior year,” Adams said. “I want to make sure this choice is right. It’s definitely going to affect the rest of my life. I want to take visits to these schools, make sure the atmosphere is what I like to be around. I want to feel at home when I get there. It all depends on that.”
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