AUBURN, Ala. — Insulted? No, Trooper Taylor wasn’t insulted that his prize pupil, Darvin Adams, was left off last year’s All-SEC postseason teams.
Auburn’s wide receivers coach knows the drill.
“First you put yourself out there,” Taylor said. “Then the next time, that’s when you put yourself on the map.”
If that’s the case, Adams, who set the school’s single-season receptions record last year, could be in line for national acclaim this season.
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The junior is looking to build off a breakout season during which he caught 60 passes for 997 yards and 10 touchdowns. That included a 12-catch, 140-yard performance in the Outback Bowl, which earned him game MVP honors.
Adams’ numbers stacked up well against anyone in the SEC. He was second in the league in both touchdown catches and receiving yards and third in receptions.
Yet when the postseason coaches’ All-SEC teams were released last December, he was not among the five receivers selected, failing even to garner an honorable mention.
Ole Miss’ Shay Hodge and Georgia’s A.J. Green made the first team; Arkansas’ Joe Adams, Florida’s Riley Cooper and LSU’s Brandon LaFell the second.
“You’ve got to win,” Taylor said. “You win 12. You win 10. That’s going to give you the recognition you’re looking for.”
Adams has shrugged off any slights. He’s not upset about the All-SEC snub, nor does he care that he came up only three yards shy of being only the third Auburn player to reach 1,000 receiving yards in a season and the first to do so since Ronney Daniels in 1999.
“I’m a team player, so that don’t mean nothing to me,” Adams said. “I’m just going to work hard and keep doing what I’ve been doing.”
The accolades are already piling up this summer. He made the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the best receiver in the nation. Plus, he was a second-team selection by both the coaches and media on the preseason All-SEC teams, although he is still behind Green and Alabama’s Julio Jones.
Adams hasn’t gotten complacent. He got bigger in the offseason, adding five pounds to his 6-foot-3 frame to get to 190, and continued to perfect his routes.
Despite his calm demeanor and even more laid-back nickname — “Smooth” — Adams is relentless when he gets on the practice field.
“If you ever want to see a player practice with the same speed he plays at, come watch Darvin,” Taylor said. “That’s what you’re going to get. The defense will tell you. You’d better not go thud or half speed. He’s not. Even in shells, I have to slow him down. He’s going to full speed.”
For all the talk of Auburn’s up-and-coming receivers, the Tigers’ passing game will still hinge largely on Adams, who had more than twice as many catches as any other receiver on the roster.
He was Chris Todd’s most reliable target, a role he’ll likely reprise as Cam Newton gets used to running Gus Malzahn’s fast-paced offense. But Adams will have to adapt now that he’s a proven commodity.
“We’re not going to put a guy in one spot and let you put a corner and a safety and take him out of the game,” Taylor said.
True to his nature, Adams doesn’t seem concerned about the added attention.
“I don’t think about that,” he said. “I just go out and execute the plays. If I do, that will open up somebody else, and I already know we’ve got a lot of play-makers on this team, so it won’t really matter if they double team me or not.”