Sign on the dotted line

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Luverne High School's Chester Adams, one of the state's most sought after college football prospects, made it official Wednesday.

The 6nfootn6, 320 pound offensive lineman will suit up with the University of Georgia Bulldogs this fall.

Georgia's stellar football program wasn't Adams' only reason for choosing it over the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Southern Miss and Troy State University.

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"Georgia's now got the highest graduation rate," Adams said. "There was a lot of stuff that I liked at the campus and with the coaches. I could really see how much they care about their players, not only on the field, but also off the field in the classroom. They've got good academic facilities and the coaches care a whole lot about their players graduating. I didn't want to go to college five years and not have a degree."

The Alabama Sports Writers Association named Adams the Class 2A Lineman of the Year for his dominance on the offensive line. He helped lead Luverne to an 11n4 record and a runnernup finish in the state.

Adams, who also plays center on Luverne's basketball team and is an accomplished tympani player, was also named to Greenville Newspapers' TrinCounty football team. named him the 32nd top offensive lineman in the nation, and voted him to its South Hot 100 list and as the No. 10 prospect in Alabama. He joined 20 players from across the nation to ink offers with the Bulldogs.

"We're excited about this class," Georgia's Head Football Coach Mark Richt said. "We care very much about what type of players they are. We evaluate tape to see if they can play. After that, we want to know if they can compete academically. When we know they're capable there, we check out what kind of kid, what kind of leader and what kind of teammate they are. Then we go ahead full speed. We feel real comfortable with all of the guys we signed today."

Mike Dubose, Luverne's firstnyear head football coach and former University of Alabama head football coach, who was voted the TrinCounty's Coach of the Year by Greenville Newspapers, believes Adams will find success at the college level. He believes if Adams continues with the same hard work ethic he possessed in high school, he could make a career out of football.

"I think he's got a tremendous future ahead of him academically and athletically," Dubose said. "I think he's going to be successful with football and without football. He understands that this is a great opportunity, but he's one day away, one step away or one play away from the football part of it being over. The academic side of it is going to be with him the rest of his life.

"He has a goal and dream to play in the National Football League one day," Dubose added. "I think that's one of the reasons he chose the University of Georgia. He thinks Coach (Neil) Callaway (offensive coordinator/offensive line coach) can help him get to the next level maybe quicker than some of the other people. If he works, sacrifices and stays focused on what he is capable of, then he's going to be an outstanding player at the University of Georgia. They're very fortunate to have him and he's very fortunate to have the opportunity. If he does that, I think he'll go to the next level and play on Sunday. I think he has a tremendous future ahead of him."

Adams' goals while at Georgia are to earn playing time early and make an impact on the program in his first year. He plans to work hard on and off the field because he knows Georgia needs help on the offensive line. He wants to be the guy to help the Bulldogs.

"Like I tell everybody else, if I work hard I'm going to see playing time, if I don't I won't," Adams said.