He’s already a touchdown-making machine but Johnny Adams of Akron Buchtel High School has yet to play a single down on offense in his young career as a Griffin.
The way Adams tells it, he returned nine punts for touchdowns, including three in one game against Central-Hower, he took two kickoffs back for scores and returned an interception back for a touchdown as well during his sophomore season last year.
“My sophomore season was a nice season for me. It got my name out there I guess,” Adams said. “But I have to come back my junior year and work even harder now that I have more experience. I was young last year so I know a little more tricks of the trade now. I’m expecting to have an even bigger season this year.”
Adams started a couple of games in his freshman season and managed to make at least a couple of big plays. He had an interception against Hoban at cornerback and he returned two punts for touchdowns.
“I returned three punts as a freshman and took two of them back for touchdowns,” Adams said. “It’s pretty crazy.”
It’s pretty safe to say that Adams has a pretty good knack for returning punts already.
“Hats off to the players that come down and block for me. They do a lot to get down the field and block for me,” he said. “But I’m pretty good at it I guess.”
Adams played mostly at running back during his pee-wee football days and he was used to scoring touchdowns as a youngster. That innate talent has obviously translated very well to the high school level.
“It carried over from there to the varsity at Buchtel High School,” Adams said. “Coach (Claude) Brown put a lot of faith in me and let me go back there as a freshman. I like to get into the end zone.”
At 6-0 and 175 pounds, Adams will have even more opportunities to reach paydirt in his junior season as he’ll play on offense for the first time in his career at Buchtel at wide receiver.
“This year I’ll play a lot on offense at wide receiver,” said Adams who turned 17 on June 9. “No running back, just wide receiver. It’s not totally new but I think I’ll be okay there.”
He’s expecting to have a productive junior season and he’s preparing accordingly.
“I’m just working on my speed. I’m trying to stay in shape and get bigger,” said Adams who was a member of the school’s 4X100 relay team that finished second at the state meet in early June. “I’m basically just working hard.”
Cornerback is his main position. He’d like to have at least seven or eight interceptions this upcoming season.
“I have a lot of things I need to work on but at the rate I’m going, I think I’ll be okay. I hope so,” Adams said. “I’m trying to listen more and be coached up as much as possible.”
Adams will certainly be a top recruit for the class of 2008 in Ohio but he hasn’t yet had a lot of experience with the recruiting process.
“Coach Brown has been helping me a whole lot,” said Adams who has a 3.0 GPA. “Ohio State is one of my favorites. Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame are my favorites.”
He hinted that there might be a slight advantage with Ohio State when you consider that Antonio Pittman also played at Buchtel.
“I’m close with (Antonio Pittman). He just tells me to stay focused and he’ll help me out with anything that comes up,” Adams said. “He’s just been talking to me and being like a big brother to me.”
All the ingredients are in place for Adams to achieve success.
“I’m staying out of trouble and I’ve got a good family foundation,” he said. “My parents keep me straight.”
Adams, who is also a star guard on his school’s hoop team, thinks that all of the recruiting stuff will eventually take care of itself.
“I’m still young but I feel really good about it though,” said Adams who was clocked under 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash at an Akron combine this summer. “I look forward to picking a school, getting me an education, playing ball and just go on from there. I really want to play college football.”
Buchtel advanced all the way to the state semifinals last year and finished the season with an 11-3 record. The Griffins, who started their season and ended it last year with loses to Steubenville - the Division III state champions, open this season once again against the Big Red on Thursday night, Aug. 24.