Gray Collegiate’s Adams ready to ‘give it 150 percent’ at U.S. Army National Combine

Gray Collegiate’s Adams ready to ‘give it 150 percent’ at U.S. Army National Combine

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As a young child, KZ Adams considered being an actor when he grew up.

Even without a star next to his name, the Gray Collegiate sophomore knows his game will shine.

At this point, Adams has no football scholarship offers and no recruiting services list him among the top recruits. Yet, beginning tomorrow, he will compete against some of the best high school football competition in the country at the U.S. Army National Combine at the All-American Bowl.

Shanae Simmons stands with her son, KZ Adams, following a Gray Collegiate football game.
Shanae Simmons stands with her son, KZ Adams, following a Gray Collegiate football game. (Source: KZ Adams)

"I always wanted to play football. I came out of the womb wanting to play football."

Adams has two loves -- football and his mom.

"My relationship with my mom is everything,” he said. “She's always been there in my life. She never left. She always stayed with me and helped me."

As a single mother, Shanae Simmons' devotion to see her son, KZ, fulfill football dreams serves as the inspiration for him to thrive on the field and in the classroom.

"My thing is I want to buy her a house and a car,” Adams said. “She's worked so hard to put me in a position to be great right now."

Adams works tirelessly to keep his 4.0 GPA, along with being at his best each time he lines up for Gray Collegiate. His coach, Adam Holmes, saw this potential before Adams put on the War Eagle uniform.

"You can tell why he is so successful because of the drive he has,” Holmes said. “I remember meeting him as an eighth-grader, I said, ‘This kid is going to be special.’"

He's been just that in two seasons with Gray Collegiate. The sophomore running back had a sensational 2019 campaign finishing with more than 1,600 rushing yards, more than 500 yards receiving, and 37 total touchdowns.

"This kid is one of the most electric players I've seen in 16 years of coaching," Holmes added.

So why does the 17-year-old Adams have no scholarship offers or a star rating from Rivals? Perhaps it's his size. Adams stands 5-foot-8 and weighs roughly 165 pounds.

"Overemphasized too much on the size of a guy,” Holmes said. “I think it's about the heart of the kid and how athletic he really is."

Adams is no longer overlooked with an invite to compete at the U.S. Army National Combine at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, this week. He had quite the reaction when Coach Holmes presented the invitation back in November.

"My jaw dropped," Adams recalled.

"He came in with a big grin on his face,” Holmes said.”He's definitely worthy of it."

It's an elite opportunity on a select few ever receive. It kicks off Thursday and lasts through Saturday.

“Give it 150 percent going out there and dominating my opponent and dominating the drills,” Adams said about competing in the event.

Although Adams' biggest fan, his mom, will not be able to attend the combine, he plans to FaceTime her four to five times a day to share in the experience. And Adams knows what Mom will say before taking the field to showcase his talent to the world.

“Go kill it,” Adams said. “Show them what you’re made of. Show out!”

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