Junior Adams, a former All-America wide receiver at Montana State, enters his fifth season as coach of Eastern’s talented and highly-productive corp of wide receivers. He also serves as Eastern’s liaison with professional football scouts.
Adams has also received multiple grants as part of the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship program. Those grants have given him the opportunity to work at summer training camps with several National Football League coaching staffs – the Oakland Raiders (2010), Indianapolis Colts (2011) and Minnesota Vikings (2012).
In 2013, he will develop young talent as replacements for three receivers who all earned All-America accolades and had 1,000-yard seasons in their careers. The trio of Nicholas Edwards, Greg Herd and Brandon Kaufman combined for 139 games worth of experience (103 starts), and had collective totals of 601 catches for 8,713 yards and 83 touchdowns. Edwards and Herd were All-Americans in 2011 when they both went over the 1,000-yard mark. Kaufman earned All-America accolades in 2010 when he had over 1,000 yards and in 2012 when he finished with a FCS record 1,850 receiving yards.
In 2011, Edwards caught a school-record 95 passes for 1,250 yards and 19 touchdowns to lead the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. Herd caught 67 passes for 1,022 yards and seven scores as a second team All-Big Sky Conference selection. Kaufman redshirted the 2011 season as an injury hardship case, but earned first team All-America and first team All-Big Sky honors after catching 76 catches for 1,214 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore when he helped lead the Eagles to the NCAA Division I title.
In his first season at EWU in 2009, Adams coached a group of experienced receivers that featured senior All-American Aaron Boyce. Boyce was injured in the middle of the season, but eventually earned second team All-Big Sky honors along with senior Tony Davis. Boyce finished second in school history in receptions (222), yards (3,330) and touchdown catches (29), and Davis finished his career third in catches (213) and fourth in yards (2,566). In part because of Boyce’s injury, Edwards, Herd and Kaufman played significantly in 2009, and that paid dividends in 2010.
Adams originally attended and played at Oregon State, and then transferred to Montana State where he made an immediate impact for head coach Mike Kramer, who was head coach at Eastern from 1994-98. In 2001, Adams earned second team All-Big Sky Conference honors as both a wide receiver and return specialist. He averaged 19.0 yards per punt return, with three touchdowns in a total of 20 returns. One of his touchdowns was an 84-yard return against Eastern in a 48-38 victory over the Eagles at Albi Stadium in Spokane on Oct. 6, 2001. He caught 40 passes for 652 yards and six touchdowns for the 5-6 Bobcats.
As a senior, he caught 66 passes for 983 yards and eight touchdowns to earn All-America honors. He broke a Big Sky Conference record when he averaged 60.5 yards per reception (two catches for 121 yards) against Weber State. He helped MSU to a 7-5 overall record as the Bobcats finished 5-2 in the Big Sky Conference to earn a piece of the league title. He scored the winning touchdown in a 10-7 victory over rival Montana at Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula that ended MSU’s 16-game losing streak versus the Grizzlies. Earlier in the season, he caught 11 passes for 181 yards in a 45-28 loss at Washington State.
Adams remained at MSU to serve as a wide receivers and returns coach under Kramer, and then spent the 2007 season in the same capacity at Prosser (Wash.) High School. He helped head coach Tom Moore finish the season 14-0 and win the WIAA State 2A title. Adams coached the 2008 season at Tennessee-Chattanooga before joining EWU’s program.
A native of Fremont, Calif., he enjoyed an outstanding prep career at Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, Calif., where he rushed for 3,385 yards and scored 53 touchdowns in three seasons. After he graduated in 1998, Adams redshirted at Oregon State in the fall. He played two seasons for head coach Dennis Erickson and was a member of the 2000 Pacific 10 Conference championship team and played in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame.
A 1998 graduate of Amador Valley High School in California, his full name is Alton J. Adams Jr. He was born on Oct. 20, 1979, in Fremont, Calif., and will turn 34 the day after Eastern hosts Southern Utah on Oct. 19, 2013.