The story of Deke Adams coming to Columbia is, in a nutshell, why USC fans shouldn't play chicken little every time things don't seem to be going our way. On Sunday, the fan base was in meltdown mode after it was announced that Brad Lawing would be taking his talents to Gainesville to coach the rival Gators. The next day, a day on which the Gamecocks also gained the services of a talented prep offensive tackle, we were ecstatic to welcome Adams to the family. The scuttlebutt now seems to be that Lawing was no longer a good fit on our staff, and when Florida came calling, we let Lawing go, thinking we could upgrade. And that's what we did. Trust the Visor, folks.
My impression really is that Adams fits our current needs more than Lawing did, even throwing aside apparent staff chemistry issues. Lawing's worth was as a teacher of the game. He's a longtime DL coach who has done an excellent job of developing a number of talented players for us. Obviously, some of those guys, like Cliff Matthews and especially Jadeveon Clowney, were natural talents, but others really stand out as guys Lawing molded into great linemen, like Melvin Ingram. We of course may miss Lawing's abilities in this regard. However, the last round of assistant hires featured a number of guys who were noted for player development and Xs and Os, but who didn't have great reputations as recruiters. Carolina needed someone to replace the recruiting panache provided by departed guys like Jay Graham. Although he lacks a lot of experience going for the kind of prospects needed to win big in the SEC, Adams was named one of the nation's top 50 recruiters last year by JC Shurburtt. He has a good track record and is the kind of young, upbeat guy whose personality resonates with prep prospects. He's also got experience recruiting in North Carolina, an area that's absolutely essential to our continued success as a program.
I also wouldn't sell Adams short as a teacher of the game. UNC had a solid rushing defense last season, and Southern Miss. (where Adams coached along with Larry Fedora) had a top-25 rushing defense in 2011. I don't know the details regarding what role Adams's skills in player development played in those successes, but, clearly, he did something right relative to his peers. Those peers, you might say, weren't SEC-level, but he also didn't have a Clowney to work with at those schools, either. The guy has clearly shown the requisite potential to make this a good hire.
All in all, I'm very excited about this hire. This feels very much like the kind of hire we made when we brought in Shawn Elliott, and if that premonition turns out to be correct, we're in for a treat with Deke Adams.