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Junior Adams Named to App State Football Staff

By Tim Gardner

Appalachian State University head coach Eliah Drinkwitz is putting together what many of his peers and college football analysts are calling an all-star staff. It includes his hiring several newcomers who have no previous ties to the Mountaineers as well as the retention of a few assistants from former coach Scott Satterfield’s staff. And each staff member has had consistent success in their previous assignments as assistant coaches.

The latest assistant hired by Drinkwitz is Alton Adams, Jr. (Junior Adams), who spent the last two seasons as offensive coordinator and receivers coach at Western Kentucky.

Adams’ appointment was announced by Appalachian State on Sunday.

“Junior is a great developer of wide receivers with championship experience,” said Drinkwitz, who worked alongside Adams when they were assistants at Boise State University in 2014 and 2015. “He is a tremendous recruiter who can identify talent and develop that talent at the highest level. We are excited to welcome Junior to the App Family.”

The 39-year old Adams, who has coached in the postseason in eight of the last 10 years, was part of two conference championships in three years at Boise State (2014-2016) after he helped Eastern Washington University win a national championship as its receivers coach in 2010. Following the 2016 season as the receivers coach and passing game coordinator at Boise State, which had the first pair of 1,000-yard receivers in school history, Adams became the offensive coordinator at Western Kentucky.

Among the standout receivers Adams has coached in recent years are Cooper Kupp of the Los Angeles Rams, Cedrick Wilson of the Dallas Cowboys and Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State’s all-time leader in receiving yards.

“I am thankful to be joining the Appalachian State football family,” Adams said. “It is a program rich in tradition, sportsmanship and winning. I know Coach Drinkwitz is an asset to the program, players and community. I’m excited to get going on the 2019 App State football season.”

In Adams’ five seasons with Eastern Washington from 2009-13, the team finished in the top 10 in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS-Formerly I-AA ) in passing offense four times, ranking No. 1 in 2011 with 368.4 passing yards per game.

Under Adams’ direction, Boise State’s passing game and wide receivers set numerous records. In 2016, the Broncos ranked 15th nationally with 298.3 passing yards per game to go along with top-10 rankings in passer rating (No. 9, 161.38) and yards per pass attempt (No. 7, 9.6).

In 2015, with Drinkwitz coordinating Boise State’s offense and Adams coaching the receivers, the Broncos ranked 15th nationally at 501.3 total offensive yards per game.

When Adams became Western Kentucky’s offensive coordinator, the Hilltoppers returned only two players who had caught at least 25 passes the previous season. But behind Adams’ tutelage, Nacarius Fant had the fifth-best season in school history that year (2017) with 75 receptions and former walk-on Deon Yelder emerged as a record-setting tight end with 52 catches for 688 yards. Yelder received an invitation to the Reese’s Senior Bowl that year, and quarterback, Mike White, also played in the Senior Bowl after completing a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)-best 368 passes for 4,177 yards (fourth nationally) as a senior.

Adams earned All-American playing honors as a senior at Montana State University after being a member of Oregon State’s 2000 Pacific-10 Conference championship team that won the Fiesta Bowl.

He caught 66 passes for 983 yards and eight touchdowns as a Montana State senior in 2002. He had the game-winning touchdown catch against rival Montana in a 10-7 victory that helped the Bobcats earn a share of the Big Sky Conference title.

Adams graduated from Montana State in 2004 with a degree in sociology.

He then remained at Montana State, serving as wide receivers and returns coach. He then spent the 2007 season in the same capacity at Prosser, Washington High School, where he helped the school go 14-0 and win the 2-A state championship.

Adams next spent one season (2008) coaching at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga before becoming an assistant at Eastern Washington.

Drinkwitz has hired eight assistants coaches, leaving two slots open on his inaugural Appalachian State staff. Those include for running backs and the defensive line.