Oct. 21, 1997
Adams Among Nation's Best Offensive LinemenBy Rob Kaminski
At 6-7, 330 pound, not many people can tell MSU senior offensive tackle Flozell Adams what to do. Fortunately for Flozell, and Michigan State, somebody did just that when he was a sophomore at Proviso West High School in Illinois.
Of course, when that someone is your mother, you tend to listen.
"The sophomore football coach saw me throwing the shot put as a freshman, and asked where I came from; if I had just moved there," Adams said, recalling a period in his life when a growth spurt pushed him to 6-5 proportions. "He said I needed to go out for football in the fall. He called my mom (Rachel), and she made me come out for football as a sophomore. I guess she wanted me to do something more constructive in my spare time."
As it was, Adams already played in the band, was a member of several foreign language clubs, wrestled and threw the shot in track. Football, up until that point, was more foreign than the language courses he took.
"I was at the introductory stages for the first couple years; the coaches just told me to hit the guy in front of me. Then colleges started to show interest in me as a junior," Adams said. "But really, I didn't follow college football, pro football, or any of that until around my sophomore year here."
He seems to have caught on just fine. Entering the season, he was named a Playboy Magazine Preseason All-American, and that was just the start of the accolades. He was ranked as the nation's No. 1 offensive tackle by The Sporting News, Lindy's College Football Annual and Bob Griese's College Football Preview.
A candidate for the Outland Trophy, given to the nation's top interior lineman, Adams is also a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award. Adams is one of four offensive linemen among the 12 semifinalists for the award, which is given by the Rotary Club of Houston to the nation's lineman of the year.
"The combination of size, power and athletic ability makes Flozell Adams everything you look for in a road-grader lineman," MSU head coach Nick Saban said. "The sky is truly the limit for Flozell."
True to form, Adams casts aside such praise and accolades as he does so many would-be pass rushers.
"I just want to be the best I can be at my position, and if all those other things happen, they happen," said Adams, who switched from right to left tackle this season. "My goal is to help the team win. I've never been on a team that has won more than six games, including high school. I want to win a Big Ten championship and win at least eight games. Time is running out."
While Adams' time at MSU grows shorter, his football days appear far from over. The 1996 second-team All-Big Ten pick is likely to be one of the top linemen selected in the 1998 NFL draft. Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. named Adams the No. 6 prospect in the senior class in a preseason evaluation.
That kind of assessment could have made Adams a high pick in last year's draft, had he chosen to become eligible.
"I looked at what I could accomplish by coming back to MSU this year; the chance to have a good season and to graduate. Those things were important to me," Adams said.
A criminal justice major who will graduate in December, Adams said he definitely plans to continue his football career, "if the situation presents itself."
There is little doubt that the NFL will come calling in 1998, an opportunity he never even dreamed of as a prep freshman with a shot put in his hand.
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