MYRTLE BEACH — As Georgetown’s football team has grown under third-year coach Bradley Adams, so have the accolades.
The proof is in Myrtle Beach this week, as seniors Anthony Blair and Dillon Alford are preparing for Saturday’s SCADA North-South All-Star Football game. Bulldog coaches and administrators believe this is the first time two players from the school have been named to an all-star event in the same season.
It’s something the two players, in part, credit back to Adams.
“I really don’t believe it would have [happened],” Alford said. “I’m not trying to bad-talk anybody. But when I look at things before Coach Adams got there, the future wasn’t very bright. It’s outstanding what he’s been able to accomplish. He’s a godsend.”
In many ways, Adams’ role with the two players is further evidence.
Blair, a 6-foot-3, 242-pound defensive end, played football as a freshman before deciding he was going to concentrate on basketball as a sophomore. Adams’ Bulldogs went 5-5 and snapped a three-year losing skid, but they were lacking experience and depth.
Adams went to Blair in what amounted to a re-recruitment for football. After playing alongside future college players LeeShawn Cromedy and Trenton Grate-Reed as a junior, the effect of having Blair back in football pads blew up this season.
He finished with 85 total tackles, including 16.5 for loss, 6.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. More impressively for Adams, Blair turned from a shy kid who at one point didn’t want to even play football into something else.
“He became the vocal leader,” Adams said. “He became our team MVP. He is the leader of our football team. And we’re talking about a young man who used to not say a word.”
Now, he’s one that’s got college football prospects.
Adams won’t disclose what schools have offered Blair because they’ve yet to discuss them, but he did say that the list includes a Football Championship Subdivision team and several NCAA Division-II schools.
Not bad for a kid who only two years ago had moved on from football.
“Now that I’m here, I’m talking to these other guys; they played all four years of football,” Blair said of his teammates this week at North-South. “They’ve been busting their butts. I just jumped into it.”
Alford has a similar college list that also includes a FCS program and a NCAA Division-II offer. And like Blair, the fact that college football is a possibility is a bit of a shock given the offensive lineman’s less-than-impressive start to high school ball.
“Dillon was a guy who couldn’t do a push-up when he got here…” Adams said. “But his work ethic is unmatched. He’s bought into the work ethic that we tried to portray. It’s an everyday thing for him to continue to get better.”
Alford doesn’t disagree with the coach’s assessment.
“I wasn’t a great athlete,” he said. “Anyone will attest to that. I didn’t even bench 135 coming in as a freshman.”
Alford probably still isn’t going to set any weight-room records, even now that he’s 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds. But what he has done is become a fundamentals junkie. He uses leverage, getting his feet and hands in the right position to block opposing defenders.
The style helped Georgetown’s offense run for more than 140 yards per game while senior quarterback Caleb Hughes passed for a school-record 1,620 yards.
There’s also no mistaking what he and Blair helped the Bulldogs accomplish as a whole. Georgetown recorded its second straight winning season – something that’s now happened just four times in the last 30 years – and earned a playoff bid for the second consecutive year.
It remains to be seen what becomes of the Bulldogs in 2013. Either way, the two seniors have already made history and can relish what they did in the process.
“It’s a big accomplishment for Georgetown,” Blair said. “We’re putting Georgetown on the map.”
Contact IAN GUERIN at email@example.com.