The evolution of Davante Adams through the eyes of three coaches who shaped him


The poor grades weren’t enough to scare Williams, who wanted to see if there was more to Adams’ situation.

“I went to find him and we talked,” Williams said of meeting Adams. “From the energy, the vibe, his body language, his presence, the way he looked me in the eye, he was articulate. He wasn’t shy, none of that. I had just a hunch for this guy, that he just didn’t apply. We’ve all been there. It’s not how you start, it’s how you end. And I could tell right away, that wasn’t anything wrong with him, he just needed to apply himself and get around the right people and get around the right leadership to grab him and push him.

“After having that first conversation with him, I knew he would be fine.”

Adams, after an eight-year career in the league, is still grateful that Williams gave him the benefit of the doubt – when many did not during the self-proclaimed downward spiral he was going through.

“With recruiting, you go around and talk to a lot of kids,” Adams told, “and you can talk to somebody and say if they’re not very bright, if they’re not isn’t very sharp when it comes to understanding how everything happens. So I think [Williams] was able to realize: “This guy is really smart, he just doesn’t apply himself in class.” That’s the difference. It’s time to see if I can really reach out and pull all of this out of him, and he does it better than anyone I think I’ve met.

“I am forever indebted to him for doing this, because who knows if I would even be here right now,” Adams continued. “I had to make a quick turnaround and it wasn’t easy.”

After Adams arrived at Fresno State, he spent his freshman year in a redshirt in order to become academically eligible to play for the team. While Adams wasn’t on the court playing, he was still working behind the scenes to make things happen. Honing his work ethic, taking community college classes for credit, and of course, building chemistry with his teammates.

Keith Williams was adamant that the young man he batted for would not fail.

“It’s not everyday that I go after him, but it’s everyday that you try to guide him,” Williams said. Every day in a positive, critical or stimulating way, but it is every day that you guide it. Whether direct, subtle, more than once in the same topic or topic does not matter. It’s just every day.”

That season, Williams helped prepare Adams for the success that soon followed. Williams would never get the chance to coach his beloved prospect on the pitch at Bulldog Stadium. Prior to the start of Adams’ first redshirt season, Williams left Fresno to become the receivers coach at Tulane.

Still, the wheels had already started to turn for Adams.

“As far as meeting someone and being able to get the most out of it and maximizing yourself in a short amount of time, that’s why he’s a great coach,” Adams said. “Because he won’t let you be lazy. You could be lazy all your life – he won’t let you be that way.

“The thing is, I slacked off before I had to make up a lot of lost ground, and I did it.”


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