Small-town dream a reality for lineman
The first in a series profiling newcomers to the 2017 Arkansas Razorbacks football team.
FAYETTEVILLE — Kirby Adcock remembers when La’Michael Pettway, his teammate at Nashville High School, signed to play football for the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2015.
“Knowing he was going off to play Division I football at Arkansas was really cool,” Adcock said. “I thought, ‘It’d be something for me to get to play there, too.’ ”
Then a high school sophomore, the dream of playing for the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville didn’t seem realistic to Adcock.
“I figured I could play at a D-II school if I wanted to do that,” he said. “I didn’t think I’d be at Arkansas.”
Adcock is happy to have proven himself wrong.
The freshman offensive lineman has joined Pettway, a redshirt sophomore wide receiver, at Arkansas after signing with the Razorbacks and enrolling in January.
“Growing up in Arkansas, you walk around and see the Razorbacks everywhere,” said Adcock, a three-year starting tackle for the Scrappers. “So it’s pretty surreal to know I’m a player here now.”
Adding to the surrealism is that Nashville — with a population of 4,627, according to the 2010 census — has produced two football players for the Razorbacks in three years.
“We’re proud that Kirby has followed La’Michael to Fayetteville,” Scrappers Coach Mike Volarvich said. “He’s a guy the whole community of Nashville is pulling for. We’re excited about him being up there.”
Arkansas offensive line coach Kurt Anderson said it’s easy to understand what playing for the Razorbacks means to Adcock.
“You can tell the pride that Kirby has in this program and the fact that he’s a part of it and how much he wants to be
here,” Anderson said. “It’s a really special thing.”
Adcock last year won the Willie Roaf Award, which is presented by the Little Rock Touchdown Club to the state’s top high school offensive lineman.
“He’s a guy who’s a real pleasure to coach,” Volarvich said. “He’s an extremely hard worker. He understands the game.
“If there was something he needed to correct, you could just tell him, ‘Hey, you did this, next time do this,’ and it was done.
“He a guy that always goes 100 percent, and he was a leader for us. Not only is he a really good football player, but he’s a really good person.”
Adcock began spring practice working at right tackle with the third-team offense but closed it working at right guard.
“I learned a lot in the spring,” he said. “I got to experience the speed of the game and get adjusted to it, and learned the plays, which is a big, big deal.”
Anderson said Adcock is versatile enough to play anywhere on the offensive line.
“What I really like about him is his position flexibility,” Anderson said. “That kid also is a competitor and before it’s all said and done, he’s going to be a player here because he’s smart and he’s tough and he wants it.
“He’s going to work his tail off to get where he wants to be in life and where he wants to be football-wise. I’m pumped up about him.”
Adcock graduated from Nashville with a 4.0 gradepoint average.
The closest he came to getting a B instead of an A was a 90 in an English class. There also was a time during his freshman year when he had an 89.4 in geometry on his progress report.
Adcock’s mother, Cindi, helped motivate him to raise that grade.
“She took my four-wheeler away and wouldn’t let me ride it again until I got an A,” Adcock said.
Adcock’s four-wheeling privileges were restored when he finished the class with a 92.
During his first semester at Arkansas, Adcock had a 3.66 GPA. He got a B in geology.
“Kirby’s got a great head on his shoulders,” Razorbacks senior center Frank Ragnow said. “He understands everything.
“You never have to tell him the same thing twice.”
Adcock said the Arkansas coaches started recruiting him with more intensity after his junior season.
After getting a scholarship offer in the spring of 2016, he took a couple of weeks and weighed other offers that included Arkansas State University, Indiana, Iowa State and Southern Mississippi before committing to the Razorbacks.
“It was still a big decision to make, because I had to put aside the fact I’m an Arkansas fan,” he said. “It was the rest of my life I had to make a decision for, but ultimately this is where I wanted to be and I’m confident it’s the best place for me.”
Adcock, 6-5, weighs 290 pounds, about 10 pounds fewer than when he arrived at Arkansas.
He said working with strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert has helped him drop the weight.
He hopes to be back to 300 by the start of fall camp, but this time with more muscle.
“I’m in the best condition I’ve ever been in,” Adcock said. “When I go home, people ask me if I’ve slimmed up.
“I haven’t lost that many pounds, but I’ve lost a lot of fat.”
Adcock said he’ll be glad to play this season if given the opportunity, but he expects to redshirt.
“It that happens, I’m fine with it,” Adcock said. “I’ll get an extra year to play and finish my degree and to get bigger and stronger and faster.”
Volarvich said he’s confident Adcock will develop into a lineman who can play in the SEC.
“Offensive line is one of the harder positions to get on the field when you’re young just because of the physicality of it, and the mental part of the game,” Volarvich said. “There are so many things that come along with that.
“But Kirby, as he matures and gets stronger, his mental capacity and worth ethic are going to put him in position to get on the field.”
Freshman offensive lineman Kirby Adcock of Nashville, seen in this January photo, arrived at Arkansas weighing 300 pounds. He’s now at 290 after spending a semester in the offseason conditioning program. “I haven’t lost that many pounds, but I’ve lost a lot of fat,” he said.
6-5, 290 pounds, has been working with Arkansas strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert to try and get his weight back to 300 pounds by the start of fall camp.