Josh Adams runs fast at Notre Dame Pro Day despite health questions

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Josh Adams should be used to the question by now.

How healthy are you?

The former Irish running back still isn't offering clear answers publicly. But his performance Thursday at Notre Dame's Pro Day provided a statement of its own. 

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound back clocked a 40-yard dash of 4.48 seconds. That time would have slated him behind only four running backs at the NFL Combine earlier this month: N.C. State's Nyheim Hines (4.38), Penn State's Saquon Barkley (4.40), Arizona State Kalen Ballage (4.46) and San Diego State's Rashaad Penny (4.46).

And Adams still might not be healthy after all.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, who attended Thursday's workout, hinted at an impending surgery for Adams.

"He’s got a foot problem that’s apparently going to need some surgery. That’s going to hurt him a little bit," Mayock said. "I thought he was a third-day prospect, and I think the foot thing is going to hurt him a little bit, but with his height-weight-speed ratio, he has a chance."

When asked about the need for surgery, Adams stiff-armed the question into the future.

"We're going to see on that," Adams said following his workout. "None of that was on my mind today. Just getting this over with and making sure that all of my focus was on today, and tomorrow I'll get back checking on my health and checking on certain things that might need to get worked on.

"I'm going to talk to my people and see the next step forward. I'm going to just enjoy today and soak it in a little bit."

Thursday's workout for Adams took on a greater importance when he opted to not run at the NFL Combine. That could have put more pressure on Adams, but he said he didn't feel any.

"I felt strong,"  Adams said. "I felt confident doing everything. Overall, good day." 

Adams said he wasn't sure what his official 40 time was when he spoke with reporters. He had been hoping to run in the low-4.4 range, yet he didn't seem worried at all.

"I know the numbers may be all over the place, but in my opinion, it felt strong," Adams said. "To me, that's good. I know it was fast. It wasn't slow."

Adams also fared well in the three-cone drill and broad jump. His 6.75 seconds in the three-cone drill would have been No. 1 for his position at the Combine. His broad jump of 122 inches would have finished in a tie for fifth at running back.

The 11.31-second 60-yard shuttle Adams completed Thursday would have landed him second at the Combine, but only six running backs recorded times.

In preparation for Pro Day, Adams has been working with Bommarito Performance Systems near Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The training program claims a prodigious list of NFL running backs as alumni including Le'Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, LeSean McCoy and Jordan Howard.

"The biggest thing for me coming off the season was trying to find a place where I could take care of my body and take care of all those little things before getting to train because that would be the most important thing to be able to last," Adams said. "I found a great place where I was able to do that with great people, great coaches. They really took care of me and made sure I was putting in work. It took a lot of patience, but I'm glad that I did it."

In addition to the 58 NFL representatives at Notre Dame on Thursday, Adams' mother, Apryll, was also in attendance. She watched from the bleachers wearing a white No. 33 jersey that her son wore during his Irish career.

Josh Adams' mother Apryll Adams holds her hands together during the Notre Dame Pro Day workouts Thursday, March 22, 2018 at Guglielmino Athletics Complex and Loftus Sports Center. Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA

"Even if I told my mom not to come, she'd be here," Adams said. "You know her. She wouldn't miss it for the world. I'm glad she came up, was able to see and sit back and watch. She was probably more anxious and more nervous than I was."

Josh Adams hasn't been fretting over his draft position either. A third-day selection, as Mayock predicted, would put Adams anywhere from the fourth round to the seventh round. It's a wide range reflective of his mix of college production and professional career question marks.

He rushed for 3,198 yards and 20 touchdowns in his Notre Dame career, but Adams also runs more upright than some running backs because of his height.

"The tall running back thing is kind of an interesting conversation. He gained a lot of yards," Mayock said. "Most tall running backs need a little bit of a runway. They’re longer-strider guys. That’s what he is. You could see (on the long runs) him opening up and the speed taking over." 

Last season as a junior, Adams totaled 1,430 rushing yards — just seven yards short of the Vagas Ferguson's single-season record at Notre Dame — but he only accounted for 261 rushing yards in his final five games. Adams once had a Heisman campaign created for him, but he also suffered a torn ACL in high school.

Adams knows where he ends up is mostly beyond his control. He said he's leaned on his faith in God to guide him through this process.

"I've been working as hard as I can and leaving the rest up to Him," Adams said. "There's only so much that I can do. Only so much that I can train. You're only going to run as fast as you are. I'm just letting the rest fall where it is.

"People are going to come and watch you. If they like you, they like you. It only takes one team. Hopefully that one team was here today."

Fortunately for Adams, all 32 NFL teams were represented at Notre Dame's Pro Day. When he's asked to join one of them, he'll answer the call.


Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Josh Adams runs drills during the Notre Dame Pro Day workouts Thursday, March 22, 2018 at Guglielmino Athletics Complex and Loftus Sports Center. Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA
Josh Adams runs drills during the Notre Dame Pro Day workouts Thursday, March 22, 2018 at Guglielmino Athletics Complex and Loftus Sports Center. Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA