By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It didn’t seem too long ago that Ashton Adams was a quarterback slinging the ball around as a second-, third-grader playing Youth Football for Alex Fuimaono. Now fast forward ten-years the South Salem Senior was signing his Letter of Intent to play as a lineman for Utah State University next season.
“It’s really cool, it’s inspirational because all of the other big man out there, they see that they can play some skill position sometimes,” joked Fui, a former Western Oregon University Linebacker during the late-1990s who had coached Adams during those early years. “But football isn’t football without a big man to run through. I’m really happy to see him go.
“The guy who actually recruited him is actually a teammate of mine from Western, Stacy Collins. He’s the special teams coach and he’s a running back’s coach and he’s actually the one who recruited Ashton to Utah State.”
Things were riding high for Adams. In wrestling, he was close of reaching the heavyweight State Finals. In football, colleges were calling for the versatile offensive line/defensive lineman.
But late in the game against Sprague on September 21 in South’s comeback from behind rally against their rival, Adams went down with a torn MCL and had to be helped carted off the field to a wave of applause from the stands.
While most colleges would shy away from the injury, the Aggies did not. They stuck with their scouting and recruitment of Adams as he healed up from the gruesome injury that ended his senior season of football and wrestling.
“It was probably one of the most grateful moments of my life, mostly because I knew my season was done, I didn’t know anything more than that,” said Adams. “When I found out that Utah State was not all-too concerned about it, it gave me the lift of confidence and I felt good enough to not be depressed or anything like that. So I was feeling good, I was very excited.”
Excitement was there for Adams now knowing it’s happening that he’s a Division-1 athlete, thanking as many people as he could when six-four, 300-pounder towered over the podium he was standing at Wednesday afternoon in front of the packed Little theater on campus.
Fuimaono, as he stood in the back, towering nearly as much as Adams in his black Team Oregon Football Sweatshirt as he still coaches at the Youth level today, is happy to see one of his first athlete’s he’s coached going on to the next level.
“We knew early on how good Ashton was, he comes from a great family that his parents…we’ve been close friends for years. We started with him in second grade, so 10-years,” said Fuimaono. “So it’s a blessing to see him grow up to be a man and I’m really happy for him moving forward.”
After he signed, Adams went around shaking hands with people and thanking them in person for coming to his big day. Adams knows too that the transition will be easy as he makes it with West Salem’s Simon Thompson.
Now the trash will be limited said Adams, but it’ll be cool as both Salem-athlete’s will be going through the same stuff together in Logan.
“He’s going to be getting a lot of crap about…he’ll be getting a lot of crap though. He’s a pretty good athlete, I can’t really say anything without him proving me wrong. He’s a stud,” said Adams with a grin. “It’s awesome. I’ll be going to college and I’m going to have someone who’s going to be experience all the same new stuff we’re experiencing. And I can talk to him about all that stuff, so I like that.”