Film Study: Notre Dame LB commit David Adams

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

LB David Adams, 6-1, 225; Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic.

The numbers: Adams manned the middle of a Central Catholic defense that allowed less than 11 points per game. The Vikings (15-1) defeated Parkland in the PIAA Class AAAA state championship.

The rankings: Rivals – Four stars, No. 4 inside linebacker. 247Sports – Four stars, No. 5 inside linebacker.


First impression: Adams is a football magnet who tracks down ball carriers from the middle of the defense. He’s a menace in the backfield. His physical play is more imposing than his physical build.

Strengths: Adams brings the thud. His speed and quick reads often allow him to make plays behind the line of scrimmage where he loves to take running backs and quarterbacks off their feet. Because Adams identifies plays with such proficiency, he’s able to slip through the cracks in the offense. It’s astonishing how much he doesn’t get blocked by opposing linemen. The same skill set allows him to be a successful blitzer. He’s a sound tackler who rarely needs help bringing the ball carrier to the ground.

Proof of prowess: (:15) On the first play of the highlight package, Adams nearly decapitates the opposing running back. He reads the play, ducks inside the pulling lineman and levels the ball carrier in the hole … (:48) Adams blitzes on the edge, easily disengages from the offensive tackle trying to block him and tracks down the quarterback before he can get away … (5:33) Adams shows his sideline-to-sideline speed by chasing down a receiver on the sideline. The receiver slips through a cornerback’s attempted tackle but is quickly greeted with a crash from Adams.

Competition level: Notre Dame’s focus on recruiting in Western Pennsylvania isn’t coincidental. The area is producing a lot of talent in the 2017 and 2018 recruiting classes. Much of that talent can be found on the Central Catholic schedule. The Vikings played against seven of the top 30 teams in the state, according to MaxPreps. Adams squared off against a pair of fellow Irish commits: offensive lineman Josh Lugg and quarterback Phil Jurkovec.

Left to prove: Adams may knock around high school running backs with ease, but he’ll need to bulk up at Notre Dame. He looks to be a couple of years away from being ready to handle the physical toll of playing middle linebacker at the college level. His ability to shed blocks will be tested much more than it has been in high school. He will get fewer free passes into the backfield to make plays. As with most high school linebackers, Adams will need to improve on his coverage ability as well.

Four-star linebacker recruit David Adams announced his verbal commitment to Notre Dame on March 20, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Trib Total Media/Christopher Horner)