There were a handful of Service Academy players that impressed in wins this past weekend for Army and Navy.
Mids’ senior fullback Nelson Smith had a great day rushing the ball, covering 120 yards and scoring twice on 20 totes. Jamale Carothers and Chance Warren also scored rushing touchdowns in Navy’s win over Temple, and kicker Bijan Nichols connected on a career-long 50-yard field goal and was four-for-four on PATs.
In Army’s narrow win over the Citadel, Jemel Jones tallied a pair of touchdowns, while Arik Smith racked up 11 tackles — three of which were behind the line of scrimmage. And for the Bulldogs of the FCS, Sean-Thomas Faulkner piled up 16 tackles, nine of which were solo.
Still, none of those players stepped up in quite the same way Terrell Adams did.
Adams was called on by defensive coordinator Brian Newberry to make his first collegiate start in-place of a sidelined Tama Tuitele, the starting Will linebacker on the Navy defense. And Adams didn’t just play well against Temple — he was a major factor in why the Mids won.
After notching a team-high nine tackles and breaking up a pass that would’ve tied the game up late, Adams is this here blog’s C.I.C. MVP of the Week.
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Adams was also named NAAA Athlete of the Week and the AAC’s Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Temple.
“We just knew all week in practice that we would have to grind it out, have to keep up the energy, have to pick it up just another notch than what we had been doing the other weeks in practice because of the starters that we lost,” Adams said Tuesday during a Zoom call. “We have this next-man-up mentality... Tama did a great job of encouraging me throughout the week.”
In addition to the absence of Tuitele, Navy’s defense was also without crucial starters Diego Fagot and Evan Fochtman. Kevin Brennan was also out for the first half because of a targeting penalty he picked up vs. Air Force.
Up by eight points with about five minutes to play, Navy’s defense allowed Temple to drive 75 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown. But the Owls still needed two points to tie the game up. Temple quarterback Anthony Russo dropped back and fired a pass toward the right flat, but Adams was there to bust the play up.
“Actually, I was thinking about picking the ball off... But I couldn’t get my other arm around to get both hands on the ball,” Adams said. “As the ball is coming, I just decided to knock it down, because I knew the game would be over. Offense would get back on the field and run the clock out, take a knee, do what they have to do.”
A 6-foot, 215 lbs. product of Ramsay High School, Adams was tabbed as a two-star defensive back coming out of high school. He chose Navy over other offers from Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee State and UAB. Adams played briefly for the Mids last season, totaling 13 tackles in four games.
Adams’ twin brother Joshua also plays at Navy. He contributes on special teams and is a backup striker.
Newberry said Tuesday that Adams was a safety when he came into fall camp and Navy opted to move him to linebacker. His high school recruitment page lists him as 187, so he’s gained about 30 pounds since. On Saturday against Temple, he didn’t seem new to the linebacker position, and his instincts in defending passes paid off in a big way.