Muscling up for more
Easton’s Adams adds strength — and it’s paying off
With a chance to grab the lead role in Easton’s backfield, Nahjee Adams headed into his offseason training with a plan.
He worked to match the weightlifting feats of Easton’s offensive linemen. He concentrated on adding muscle to prepare for the pounding a feature back endures.
Adams is pleased with his progress a month into his junior season. The 15-20 pounds he has gained since his sophomore season have allowed him to handle one of the heaviest workloads among EPC South running backs. He heads into Friday’s visit from Emmaus (3-1 overall, 1-1 EPC South)
leading the division with 927 rushing yards while averaging 11.0 yards per carry.
Adams’ production behind a veteran offensive line has keyed a start that leaves Easton (4-0, 2-0) as one of two EPC South unbeatens.
“As a team, we’re still working to get to our goal,” Adams said earlier this week. “On the practice field, we have to do a lot more work, and on Friday nights, we have to come out and play hard-nosed football, lights out. Our coaches do a really good job of preparing us for the teams we have in the upcoming weeks.
“We’ve just got to execute, practice hard, and come out on Friday nights to play the way we know how to play.”
With Adams serving as one of its leaders, Easton met every challenge in its opening month. The Red Rovers top the EPC South in scoring offense (46.3 ppg) and scoring defense (14.0 ppg).
Tougher days loom. Four of Easton’s final six division games come against teams that are 3-1 or 4-0. That doesn’t include a Week 9 matchup with Parkland.
Adams welcomes the chance to play in the spotlight. He is the rare Easton junior voted team captain. He does much of the talking for a leadership group that features three offensive linemen — Patrick Shupp, Josh Arias and RJ Gisler — who prefer to let their play speak.
Adams’ play has been impossible to ignore. He gashed Easton’s best opponent to date Friday, running 24 times for 241 yards and four touchdowns in a 44-7 rout of Liberty.
Adams never received a similar workload as a sophomore backing up Harold Reynolds and Makhi DeSilva. He spent most of his time at slot receiver (26 catches, 320 yards, three touchdowns in 2018) and outside linebacker/strong safety (43 tackles, four tackles for loss, three interceptions).
Adams has relinquished his defensive duties in recent weeks. The Red Rovers want him fresh on offense to provide explosive plays, especially with sophomore quarterback Cole Transue still learning at the varsity level.
“We worked out three days a week in the summer, and he was immediately that No. 1 guy at tailback for us,” Easton coach Jeff Braido said.
“He’s a humble kid,” Braido added. “It would be easy for a kid with that much ability to have a big ego, and he’s almost the opposite. He’s not shy, that’s for sure. But he’s the type of kid, when he interacts with adults, he’s got that good handshake. He looks you right in the eye. All those good qualities of being confident, he has.”
After helping Easton run away from its first four foes, Adams can’t wait to see what the next few weeks bring. The Red Rovers’ first task is slowing Brandon Camire, the division’s No. 2 rusher, and an Emmaus offense growing in confidence.
Adams and Easton’s offensive line will also look to drive holes in an Emmaus defense that has limited opponents to 3.7 yards per carry. None of the backs the Green Hornets have faced so far compare to Adams.
“I’m excited to see how we’ll play as a team and how it will test us,” Adams said. “It’ll test our character, our dedication. It’ll make us fight when we’re knocked down. The teams we’re about to face, they’re good programs; they’re good football teams. They’re knowledgeable.
“I’m just excited to show what we can do against good teams like that.”
Easton’s Nahjee Adams (2) runs the ball up the field in a game last season against Parkland.
Easton cornerback Nahjee Adams breaks up a pass intended for Freedom wide receiver Rontay Dunbar last season.