Q&A: Advice from 2016 Shrine Game Players


Photo M. Hall

Bailey Adams, Sports Editor

During last week’s East-West Shrine Game activities in St. Petersburg, Fla., we had a chance to speak with five senior college football players about the recruiting process, adjusting to college life and on-field differences. Meet the players:

Brian Poole, University of Florida: In four years as a cornerback for the Gators, Poole racked up 120 tackles and six interceptions. Each year, he was a part of a defense that ranked in the top 25 in the nation.

Jake Rudock, University of Michigan: After being a two-year letterman at the University of Iowa, Rudock transferred to Michigan for his final year of eligibility. With the Wolverines, he threw for 3,017 yards and 20 touchdowns while leading his team to a 10-3 record.

Deon Bush, University of Miami: Bush, a projected mid-round prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft, totaled 168 tackles, five sacks and four interceptions in his career. He played in 45 games (32 starts) for the Hurricanes in four years.

Donavon Clark, Michigan State: Clark played in 47 games (33 starts) for the Spartans, showing off versatility by spending time at guard and tackle.

Vernon Adams Jr., University of Oregon: The 5’11” quarterback transferred to Oregon after compiling 10,438 passing yards and 110 touchdown passes in three years at Eastern Washington. Adams scored 28 total touchdowns for the Ducks in 2015 and earned offensive MVP honors in the Shrine Game, throwing for 191 yards and three touchdowns.

Q: If you had any advice for a high school athlete about the recruiting process, what would you tell them?

JR: “The biggest thing is to fall in love with the school itself. Unfortunately nowadays, a lot of coaches aren’t there the whole time, so it’s really important that you find a program and a university that you really like, not just for the coaches.”

DB: “Right now, don’t worry too much about the recruiting process. Just work hard, continue playing the game that you love and everything else is going to come through.”

DC: “Take it day by day and don’t rush it. At the end of the day, you’re still in high school. Your decision is all on you, so don’t let any coach or schools or family member or anybody try to rush your decision. You just have to go where your heart tells you to go.”

Q: What is it like adjusting to college life and college practices?

BP: “It’s pretty easy to adjust. The hardest thing is just managing your time.”

JR: “It’s tough. A lot of that is time management. That’s the biggest thing, understanding when to do football or other sports and also have a social life in there with your education. It’s just really important to manage all of that and when you’re working for an hour, work for an hour.”

Q: What was the biggest difference between high school and college on the field?

DB: “The biggest thing is adjusting to the game speed. It’s a different speed than high school, but you adjust fast. Football is football at the end of the day.”

DC: “Just the speed of the game. Every coach has their schemes. There’s so much more that you can learn in college. If we all had the same mindset in high school, like if we knew what we knew now back then, then everybody would be big-time ballers. At the same time, you just have to make your adjustments and everything will take care of itself.”

Q: What’s the most important thing for a high school athlete to remember?

VA: “Make sure you’re getting good grades if you want to go to a big-time school and make sure you’re performing on the field.”