One of the baddest men to roam the middle of a Clemson defense
Keith Adams came to Clemson after playing his high school ball at Westlake High in Atlanta. Considered by some to be a little undersized, Adams spent three years as a linebacker in the Clemson defense before leaving early for the NFL after his junior season. More often than not, watching Adams play was worth the price of admission alone. Such as his 4 sack, 6 tackle for loss effort vs Duke as a sophomore in Death Valley in 1999.
After playing a reserve role as a freshman in 1998, Adams led the nation with 186 tackles as a sophomore, a mark that also set a school record. He led the nation with 35 tackles for loss as well, which was also a new school record. His 16 sacks also set a school record and was good for second in the nation.
Against hated in state rival UofSC, he had a school record 27 tackles and went on to be the Defensive MVP in the 1999 Peach Bowl against Mississippi State. He earned All ACC honors, was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and was a 2nd team All American.
As a junior in 2000, Adams finished with 138 tackles, good for second on the team. He led the team with 18 tackles for loss, 19 QB pressures, and 4 forced fumbles. He also had 6 sacks and 1 interception. He would be named 1st team All ACC and become a consensus 1st team All American.
He left Clemson ranking 6th in career tackles with 379, third in career tackles for loss with 54, and third in career sacks with 23, playing in just 35 career games. He went onto spend 7 seasons in the NFL after being selected by the Tennessee Titans in the 7th round. He also played for the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, and Cleveland Browns. In 2011 he was inducted in to the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame.
Adams son, Keith Adams Jr, is a 2022 RB prospect that spent time camping at Clemson recently. Adams is hopeful that his son could become a second generation player for his alma mater.