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The Legacy of Tyrie Adams

By Matthew Golden
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In what will be a send off for one of the greatest players in Western Carolina football history, Adams has one more shot at leaving his mark on the football field and carving his name into the record books.

Tyrie Adams illustrious career comes to an end this weekend in Tuscaloosa, Alabama as the Western Carolina Catamounts close out their season against the Crimson Tide. As a disappointing season for the team ticks away, Tyrie has one last challenge and possibly one more great story of ahead of him. With backup quarterback Mac Jones taking over for the injured Tua Tagovailoa, there’s a realistic chance that Adams is the best quarterback on the field this weekend.

“As far of this being my last game, it’s exciting. I say exciting because it’s given me the opportunity and if those opportunities go as planned it will end up being more to look forward too. I’m more on the excited side then the sentimental side because there’s more opportunity for me to continue my football career, I don’t believe that this will be my last time playing football.”

The journey of Tyrie Adams started in 2014, coming out of South Florida.

“I didn’t even come up [to Western Carolina] with a full scholarship. I was on a partial scholarship, so I had to work my first spring here to get a full scholarship, which thank god I did. From that point forward I always had something to prove”

After taking a redshirt in 2015, the Dixie M. Hollins High School standout would play in all eleven games of his redshirt freshman season, making ten starts at quarterback. Adams finished third in the conference in terms of passing yards (2,568) and completed the fourth most passes in school history with 217. A redshirt freshman at the time, Adams would set the school record with 510 total yards against FCS opponent Gardner Webb, which also featured his career high 427 passing yards. After completing his first full season as a Catamount, Adams would be named 2016 Southern Conference Freshman of the Year and finish fourth in voting for the STATS FCS Jerry Rice award, which is given to the national freshman of the year.

The following 2017 crusade would not disappoint, and the lead signal caller showed no signs of slowing down. Adams became the second Catamount to eclipse the 3,000-yard mark in a season, totaling 3,040 yards. Tyrie Adams would rank second in the conference in total offense with 253 yards a game and had five performances with at least 200 passing yards and two showings of 300+ passing yards. The do it all redshirt sophomore earned his first weekly honor of the season in a 377 total yard outing against FBS opponent Hawaii. Adams would follow up his first weekly honors by collecting 464 total yards and at that point a career best 152 rushing yards in an upset win over nationally ranked Samford.

During a historical 2018 season, Adams amassed a school record 3,423 total yards of offense, 26 total touchdowns, and had six games in which he was the team’s leading rusher and passer. Not only was this a season of crushing school records, but a season that would place him among the top of the FCS. The dual threat decision maker led the conference in rushing yards per game as a quarterback with 91.5 and added 10 touchdowns on the ground.

Adams was named Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week three times in his 2018 campaign and earned honors of Offensive Player of the Month in September of 2018.This would be the third consecutive year Adams would tally an Offensive Player of the Month award. Following his acclaimed 2018 season, Adams finished 19th in voting for the FCS Walter Payton Award (National Player of the Year).

“The biggest thing for me is that I like to stay true to who I am and who I am is when I start somewhere, I want to finish ” Adams stated on the possibility of him continuing his college career outside of Western Carolina.

Prior to the quarterbacks 2019 campaign, Adams was named the Preseason Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year and received first team All-Southern Conference honors at the QB position during the SoCon Football Media Day. The hype was building up towards his senior season following an already stat sheet stuffed career.

Now entering the final week of the season, Adams ranks fourth in the Southern Conference in total passing yards and passing yards per game. Along with moving the ball down field, the signal caller takes care of the ball at a high-level ranking in the top three of passing efficiency in the conference.  Sitting at a 65 percent pass completion rate, Adams look to put up his fourth consecutive year of completing at least 62% of his passes. This would mean he would have four of the top  11 seasons passing the ball in school history, ranking 7th, 5th, and 11th in his previous three seasons.

The redshirt senior’s name is etched in Southern Conference and FCS history books. Adams is one of eleven players to throw for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a single season in the FCS.   The Fort Lauderdale native’s name is thrown in the mix with historically great players in the FCS such as Armanti Edwards and Devlin Hodges. Adams’ 2018 campaign arguably could’ve landed him first team honors, but was placed behind the previously mentioned Hodges, who has since started an NFL game at quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Now with only one game to go, the signal caller already holds school career records for passing yards (8,864), passing touchdowns (64), and total offense (11,385).  Adams holds single game career highs of;

    -185 rushing yards @ Mercer (2018)
    - 3 rushing touchdown against Newberry (2018)
    - 36 pass completions against Gardner Webb (2016)
    - 427 passing yards against Gardner Webb (2016)
    - 5 passing touchdown (three times), most recently @ Mercer (2018)
    - 545 all purpose yards @ Mercer (2018)

After making his final start in EJ Whitmire Stadium, Adams took to twitter to extend his gratitude to those who have helped him get to where he’s at and accomplish what he’s accomplished.

Despite less team success then Adams would like, the signal caller expressed “If I could do it all over again, I’d still pick Cullowhee. Nothing like doing what I love with a great environment and even better people! Love this place.”

Following this weekend's matchup against Alabama, college football will officially have ended for Tyrie Adams.

“My goal is the NFL; I plan to enter the 2020 NFL Draft after this year… got something set up to where I can train for my combine. Just taking it play by play.”

There’s no doubt the legacy Tyrie Adams will leave on the Western Carolina football program will carry on for years to come. As the senior prepares for his final collegiate start at quarterback, he sets his sights on perennial powerhouse Alabama.

“We’re focused on the Cats and keep telling ourselves don’t let the Cats beat the Cats. Don’t create opportunities for them. Don’t do anything out of the ordinary. Try to keep everything in front of us, looking at it like it’s just another game.”

The senior playmaker needs just 268 total yards against the Crimson Tide to place among the top 25, all-time, in all-purpose yardage in the FCS. In what will be a send off for one of the greatest players in Western Carolina football history, Adams has one more shot at leaving his mark on the football field and carving his name into the record books.