Annually awarded to the most “outstanding college football player,” the Heisman Trophy is the most coveted award in collegiate athletics. While the regular season is barely underway (okay, it’s halfway over, but the excitement’s just beginning), critics and fans alike have strong opinions on who should the trophy this year. However, there seems to be one player who is continually underrated in the race: Notre Dame’s starting running back Josh Adams.
Because Josh Adams is still in college, his background record is scarce. As a high school sophomore, he shocked opponents, but injured his knee in his junior year limiting his playing time. Despite the career threatening injury, in 2014, his senior year, he was selected as Pennsylvania’s offensive player of the year, rushing for over 1600 yards and 25 touchdowns on 208 carries. He then committed to Notre Dame over Wisconsin, and Stanford, among others.
In his freshman year at Notre Dame, Adams started off as the third string back behind stars Tarean Folston and C.J. Prosise. However, when Folston went down with an injury in the first quarter of the 2015 season, Adams’ number was called on whenever Prosise needed a break. On his first ever collegiate carry, Josh Adams split right, juked one defender, and plowed through a second for a 14-yard touchdown, a sign of things to come. Adams finished the game with 49 yards on the ground and two touchdowns in ND’s win over Texas.
Later on in the 2015 season, Josh Adams ran for a long 98 yard touchdown against Wake Forest, breaking one tackle and totally slamming a defensive back into the ground with a stiff arm on his way. He recorded a total of 141 yards that game, his third of the 2015 season. In the last game of the season, in a loss against Stanford, Adams recorded 168 yards on the ground, breaking the previous Notre Dame single game freshman rushing record. His freshman season totals were 835 yards and six touchdowns on only 117 carries, an average of 7.1 yards per carry.
In 2016, Notre Dame had a disappointing season, going only 4-8, an unforeseen collapse from their 10-2 record in 2015. For Adams, however, it was even better than his freshman season, as he rushed for 933 yards and five touchdowns on 158 touches, averaging almost six yards per carry. In the last game of the season, in a 45-27 loss to arch-rival USC, Adams gashed their defense for 180 yards on the ground in an otherwise disappointing loss.
Living up to his previous seasons, Adams has exploded onto the scene this year. In just six games, Adams has recorded 776 yards on 86 carries, for an astonishing 9 yards per carry and has already tied his sophomore season touchdown total of five. He has four 100 yard games, including an outstanding 229 yard performance against Boston College and a 159 yard and two touchdown game against Miami (OH), despite only eight touches.
With six games to go this season (at the time of the writing), number 33 seems on the path to a record season with Notre Dame. Adams has ran over almost every team he’s faced with ease, a clear sign of his valid candidacy for the Heisman. So before you discount the rising star, check your team’s schedule to make sure they don’t have a rendezvous with destiny in the form of Josh Adams.