MOORE — Numbers never lie, but they don’t always tell the whole story. That is the predicament Southmoore wideout Jalen Adams is dealing with this season.
Six games into his senior season, Adams has 22 catches for 245 yards and two touchdowns. Those are not the numbers of someone who was considered one of the top players in the state when the season began.
However, SaberCats (3-3, 1-2) coach Jeff Brickman said the numbers are deceiving.
“Really he’s having a better season this year,” Brickman said. “Maybe not statistically with yards and stuff like that. He needs to be a complete football player. Blocking and doing things like that. Because in college half the time you will be blocking. Last year he struggled in that department and now he’s doing a lot better job. We will keep trying to find ways to get him the football. He’s really gotten a lot better just being a complete football player now.”
Adams knew coming into the year that he had to improve in all areas of his game. With a freshman quarterback learning how to play in 6A football, the passes that he saw the year before weren’t going to be there early.
“I believe it as helped me to mature as a player,” Adams said. “Beginning of the season, I’m not going to lie, it kind of made me mad. Kind of aggravated me a little bit. Now I’m starting to realize there are other things that matter. Like me blocking for one of our runningbacks or someone else who gets the ball. That’s a key factor to playing the game of football.”
Brickman sees Adams’ growth taking the same path as another SaberCat, Julian Wilson.
“I remember when he was a junior, he played receiver, and a coach from Oklahoma State came by to look at his film, liked his highlights and wanted to see a whole game,” Brickman recalls. “He wasn’t blocking anybody so they just picked up and left.”
Wilson now starts at nickel-back for Oklahoma. Adams hopes to see his talents translate to the collegiate level like Wilson.
“I know whenever I get to the next level, it will be a different story,” Adams said. “But it’s definitely helped me to become more of a leader. Pretty much run my routes to get guys open and do things to help other people get some shine. It’s a good thing and bad thing at the same time.”
Yet, it took some time for Adams to see the silver lining.
“It was tough, really tough,” Adams said. “Every guy wants to go out there and make plays and be a game changer. It’s hard. It really is. Emotionally, physically, it’s only going to make me better in the long run.”
What has helped Adams accept the situation is that he wants to win more than catch touchdown passes. At the end of the day, if he’s posting big numbers and the team is losing, it means nothing to him.
“It’s about being a good player even when the ball is not in your hand,” Adams said. “It’s all about this team. I want us to succeed. I want us to go out there and get a win. I want to make it to the playoffs. I want to make it farther than just the first round like we have the past couple of years. This is Southmoore High School. Not Jalen Adams High School.”
Michael Kinney Follow me @eyeamtruth firstname.lastname@example.org