BATON ROUGE, La. — As expected, LSU All-American safety Jamal Adams declared for the 2017 NFL Draft on Friday morning.
That Adams will be able to dominate on the NFL field one day seems unquestionable.
“He’s a true talent,” said LSU coach Ed Orgeron. “We feel that Jamal will not only be an excellent NFL player, but we feel he has All-Pro capabilities and perhaps a Hall of Famer one day.”
But it was at his press conference to make his announcement official where Adams demonstrated with words and actions that he is already well on his way to becoming a professional in every sense.
“When you take the next step in your life, it has to be the right way,” Adams said. “This is my next step at being a pro … that’s why I wanted to do a press conference.”
Adams admitted that his mind was made up heading into the Citrus Bowl, though he was “kind of iffy” before finalizing the decision in the week that followed. For him, simply walking out of the locker room in Orlando and telling the assembled media that he had played his final game as a Tiger wasn’t the right way to do things.
He also said that the playful banter that he engaged with fans on social media about coming back next year and trying to win the Heisman Trophy wasn’t a case of him trying to pull a fast one on anybody. Before the Citrus Bowl, Adams was all-in on being an LSU Tiger.
And here’s #LSU safety Jamal Adams, not biting on question about the bowl game being his last game…
And campaigning for the 2017 Heisman pic.twitter.com/sKKBv1lwrs
— James Bewers (@JamesBewers) December 16, 2016
“It wasn’t to try and trick anybody. I wanted to focus on the team,” Adams said. “I wanted to go out and beat Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals. I was just focused on finishing strong. There was not a time I was focused on the league. At the end of the day I prayed on it, and this was the right decision for me.”
For Adams, delaying the inevitable for a week meant he formally had an opportunity to thank seemingly every coach and support staff member who has helped him along the way from seventh grade. Included on that long list were all three of his defensive coordinators in his three years at LSU, as well as recently fired special teams coach Bradley Dale Peveto.
“(I thank) Coach Peveto for allowing me to start on special teams,” Adams said. “Chief (John Chavis), thanks for allowing my first plays on defense as a true freshman. Coach (Kevin) Steele, thank you for allowing me to be free and blitz. Coach (Dave) Aranda, thank you for teaching me to be a smarter football player. And being the first DC to never scream at me.”
Most notably, the man who brought Adams to LSU, Les Miles, was back in the LSU administration building for the first time since he was fired on Sept. 25.
“I told my father to invite Coach Miles. I wanted him here,” Adams said. “I love Coach Miles and Coach O. Two great guys and great coaches.”
Miles was more than happy to be back in the building for that purpose.
“They said ‘We’re having an announcement. Would you please come?'” Miles said. “And I said ‘Absolutely. No question.'”
When he was done talking and doing television interviews, Adams went around the media room and individually shook the hands of everyone who remained, thanking them for coming out on a rainy day.
There are 32 NFL teams — one of which will be similarly thankful when it drafts Jamal Adams.