BATON ROUGE, La. — As an All-American safety, Jamal Adams has made plenty of crushing hits and shoestring tackles in his three years at LSU. He has sacked quarterbacks and intercepted five of their passes.
Yet his all-time favorite play as a Tiger did not come on defense.
For Adams, the proudest moment in an LSU uniform was throwing a block.
At the time in 2014, Adams was a freshman special-teamer. The Tigers were hosting Kentucky, where his father led the SEC in rushing touchdowns as a senior running back in 1984. And for the first time in his career, Adams had a chance to make a really big play.
“It was my first big game, I’ll never forget it,” Adams said. “It’s unique because it was against Kentucky, my dad’s alma mater. Leading up to that game I was playing a little bit, getting in here and there.”
And then Adams showed why he should be playing more than just a little bit on a play where he didn’t touch the ball or ballcarrier.
Tre’Davious White was deep to return a punt, and Kentucky gunner A.J. Stamps had a bead on him. Or at least he did until Adams intervened, delivering a crushing block that gave White all the breathing space he needed to turn the corner for a 67-yard touchdown return.
“It was a play that really sparked and set the tone for my career at LSU,” Adams said. “I finished the game strong and from then on out I never looked back.”
Les Miles, who attended Adams’ press conference, was not surprised with the play being his favorite.
“That would be his first big-time play,” Miles said. “That was a big play.”
Miles also said the coaching staff used the play as a training tool on how to perfectly execute a punt return block.
“It was a blind-side block that very easily could have been called a penalty,” Miles said. “Had he decided to take him out, they could have called it a defenseless player. But he was low and between the numbers and really just above the hip, and it was a great block. A very physical block. We used it as an example of what to do in those situations.”