Everybody has gotten where they are through a culmination of decisions they have made. While it’s ideal to think that we will always make the right decision the first time around, that isn’t always the case. Learning from the past is a vital part of the maturation process. How can you know what the right choices are if you’ve never made the wrong ones?
One reason I love writing about sports is because sports unite people from all walks of life. Sports don’t display a financial situation, gpa, family life, criminal record, or anything else that our society judges people for. Even when everyone and everything in someone’s life has let them down, sports offer a deserving individual a second chance. From Matt Bush to Josh Hamilton, Randy Moss, and even Johnny Manziel, sports allow people to erase their past decisions and attempt to move forward with their lives. Some who get a second chance are able to seize the opportunity, while others pose greater threats of disappointment *Cough, Manziel*.
Much like sports, Mount St. Joseph University teaches students about life and how to bring out their best characteristics to reach their potential. Due to the Mount’s devotion to serving those who have the least and its focus on developing humanitarian leaders, this school offers many students a chance at a better life. Just as importantly, it offers some a second chance at a better life. Carson Adams is one of the Mount’s second-chance students.
In the fall of 2014, Adams was a senior offensive lineman at West Forsyth High School in Georgia who had garnered national attention for his potential on the football field. The list of schools that were vying for his services included the likes of “Tennessee, Kentucky, Western Carolina, Middle Tennessee, and South Alabama.” However, Adams understood that the odds of him making an impact on a Division 1 program were slim, so he narrowed his focus on some smaller schools. Mount St. Joseph University was nowhere to be found on the list of schools that were interested in him.
Adams ultimately decided that the best fit for him was Maryville College near Knoxville, Tenn. After a brief stint on the Maryville football team, Adams withdrew from the college and moved home. He described the situation by saying, “I was a lot younger then. I was very immature about the recruiting process and how I handled things.”
Shortly after leaving Maryville, Adams picked up a job as a sales representative for Nike. During this time, he also coached a sixth and seventh grade football team and served as the media producer for the Dawson County High School football and basketball teams. After taking some time off school, Adams enrolled at a small community college near his home.
When asked if he thought his football career was over, Adams said, “I thought I was done and mentally, I was. I was going through a really hard time because of financial reasons and I had just gotten out of a serious relationship.” Prior to this difficult time in his life, Adams said, “I had no real relationship with God. Once I strengthened that, I found that faith led me back to the field.” Throughout this experience, Adams still had never heard of Mount St. Joseph University, until a casual conversation with a stranger changed his life.
He was working out at a gym in Georgia when Mount football player Lyle Lopez walked in. Lopez commented on Adams’ University of Georgia sweatshirt and the two began discussing football, school, and life. When they were done working out, they exchanged cell phone numbers and went their separate ways.
The next morning, Adams received a text message from an unfamiliar phone number. It was the Lions’ new head coach, Tyler Hopperton, saying that Lopez had given him the phone number of an offensive lineman who was trying to get back to the field. The two kept in touch and in the weeks following, Hopperton was at a coaching clinic in Atlanta, so he asked to meet Adams. As Adams recalls, “Once I started talking to (Coach Hopperton), I was sold on the idea.”
In the fall, Adams attended his third freshman orientation in three years. As he described it, “When I first came here, I was really nervous, but God helped me get through that. It was definitely a blessing that I never thought I would get.” This blessing for Adams has also been a blessing for the Lions, who entered last summer without much depth on the offensive line. Adams’ presence was felt immediately as he appeared in eight games and started seven for the Lions this season.
When asked about his time at the Mount, Adams said, “The Mount has given me everything I could imagine. It has given me a second chance to play the game that I love, it has let me meet some truly amazing people from the football field, to the classroom, and the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. I love it and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.”
To date, destiny and faith have led Adams to where he is today, but his story isn’t over. In terms of future goals, Adams said, “I’d like to be first team All-HCAC for the next few years and I’d also like to be an All-American by the time I graduate.”
After college, Adams has aspirations of playing professional football. Perhaps he will become the second Lion to sign with an NFL team, maybe he will get a chance to play in Canada, or maybe he will catch on with a semiprofessional team. Wherever his journey takes him, none of his goals seemed possible until he came to the Mount. Now, the same man who thought he had played his final football game over two years ago says, “I would definitely need to be taken off in a stretcher before I just walk off the field.”