Eastern quarterback added to national watch list

Dual-threat Eagle signal-caller Adams manages sickle-cell trait

By Elohino Theodore, Sports Writer

Photo by: Aaron Malmoe
Freshman quarterback Vernon Adams added to the National Watch list.



The EWU football team had many highlights last season, and they can add another one to their list.

Eastern quarterback Vernon Adams has been added to the watch list for the College Football Performance Awards. This watch list features 32 Football Championship Subdivision athletes, including Adams, competing for the honor of the quarterback award.

Adams humbly appreciates the recognition and attention, “It feels good. It’s a tremendous honor. It’s crazy because I didn’t even know until a couple of days ago. My mom called me and she told me,” Adams said. “I’m just going to keep working hard and continue to get better and try to up my game.”

Adams was a nine-game starter for the Eagles as a redshirt freshman in 2012. Adams and Kyle Padron combined to lead Eastern to the school record for passing yards. The Eagles finished with 4,469 passing yards. Adams ranked fourth in FCS with a passing efficiency of 160.80.

In 2012, Adams earned a rating of 143.3 and was 47-of-69 for 500 yards with zero interceptions during EWU’s four spring scrimmage games. He also had 73 rushing yards to end the spring scrimmages as the team’s leading rusher.

He has managed to earn all of these achievements despite his sickle cell trait. A sickle cell trait is when some of your red blood cells contain abnormal sickle hemoglobin. This causes severe cramping to his body while competing.

“Every game week, I drink coconut water during practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Saturday morning before the game, I drink coconut water and I also take an IV,” Adams said. Adams does this to avoid cramping up during games when competing.

Despite his newest accolade of being on this watchlist, he does not feel any stress. “There’s no pressure at all. I go out there thinking that God brought me here to Eastern Washington for a reason. He blessed me with these talents, so I’m [going to] use my talents to my full ability,” Adams said.

With Padron out of the roster, Adams will be competing for the top quarterback spot on the team. “I don’t like to look at it as the job is mine [because] we still have two great quarterbacks in Anthony Vitto, Jordan West, and we have a good quarterback coming in who’s a lefty, Conner Richardson,” Adams said.

Head football coach Beau Baldwin is proud of Adams receiving this kind of attention. “I think it’s fantastic. It says a lot about a few things, it says a lot about obviously with [Adams], and how he is respected as a football player not just locally, but nationally. It says a lot about the team because you only get individual-type recognition when you have a team that’s doing the right things and good things around you,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin also admires Adam’s tenacity and his competitiveness on the field. “Defenses are worried about him. He has just a great knack of keeping plays alive,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin wants to continue to see improvement in Adam’s game for the upcoming season. “I want him to improve on being able to get in and out of better plays, better situations. He’s [going to] be older and more experienced, where he’s going to have a better knack and feel for being able to do that,” Baldwin said.

With the offseason currently being active, Adams is looking to improve on a few things. “I’m working on a lot of things; I’m working on leadership and getting better on and off the field. Grades, watching film, I’m working on my techniques and I’m working on getting better at reading defenses everyday,” Adams said.

Adams appreciates his teammates and sees them as the reason for his success. “The guys on the rest of the offense, the [offensive line], the running backs, the big three receivers and Ashton Clarke, the fourth receiver, those guys are the reason I’m on the watch list.”