David Adams

Notre Dame linebacker commit David Adams will play in the Under Armour All-America Game despite dealing with a partially torn ligament in his elbow. (Photo courtesy of Intersport)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Adjusting to the competition level for the Under Armour All-America Game is one thing for David Adams.

Adapting to the Florida heat presents a completely different challenge for the Pennsylvania native.

“I’m getting there,” said Adams, a four-star linebacker committed to Notre Dame. “I’m sunburnt.”

Adams could have used some more SPF during the first two days of practice which came with temperatures in the low 80s and few clouds Wednesday and Thursday. But Adams soaked up more than rays at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. He has continued to absorb more about playing linebacker at an elite level.

“I’m learning a lot from some great coaches, and I’m excited for the game Sunday,” Adams said.

As a member of Team Armour, Adams is being taught by former NFL head coach Herm Edwards, Roswell (Ga.) Centennial head coach Lenny Gregory, Belleville (Mich.) head coach Jermain Crowell, and East St. Louis (Ill.) head coach Darren Sunkett.

He also gets to play alongside the likes of Alabama commits Markail Benton and Dylan Moses, Auburn commit Chandler Wooten and Texas A&M commit Anthony Hines II. They’ll take the field on Sunday at 1 p.m. EST for the 10th edition of the Under Armour All-America Game.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker from Pittsburgh Central Catholic wants to prove he belongs even if it means delaying his recovery from an elbow injury he suffered in the first game of his senior season. Adams said he was diagnosed with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He slapped a brace on his right arm and has continued playing ever since.

“I extended on a guy and it just tore, I guess,” Adams said with a laugh. “It started hurting like crazy.”

Don’t expect anyone to question the toughness of the hard-nosed linebacker. Adams, who finished his career as the all-time leader in tackles at Pittsburgh Central Catholic, said he’ll meet with a doctor after the game to determine if his elbow requires surgery four months after the initial injury.

Adams’ commitment to playing as much football as he can mirrors his commitment to Notre Dame. The 4-8 record didn’t shake Adams from his word even though his offer list included Penn State, Pittsburgh, Florida, Stanford and Michigan. His outlook on the Irish hasn’t changed.

“It’s just the opportunities there on the field and in the classroom,” Adams said. “You can’t beat it.”

Adams even purchased Notre Dame jerseys with his No. 35 for his parents for Christmas. Less than a month earlier, his family hosted Notre Dame recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach Mike Elston for an in-home visit. The relationship between Elston and Adams has been consistent for more than a year.

“Coach Elston and I are extremely close,” Adams said. “We’re in contact like every week.”

With Notre Dame officially hiring Mike Elko, Adams is excited to get to know the new defensive coordinator. Elko, who finished his tenure at Wake Forest with a defensive effort that included minus-20 yards rushing for Temple, has already made a strong first impression on Adams — even if Adams doesn’t need to be impressed.

“We’ve been talking a little bit,” Adams said. “He’s a great coach. He said he’s excited to coach me, and I’m excited to play for him for sure.”

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Twitter: @TJamesNDI

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