Auburn defensive lineman Montravius Adams discussed his decision-making process in returning for his senior year publicly for the first time on Tuesday following the team’s first practice of the spring.
With scouts projecting Adams as a mid-round pick, he didn’t shy away from admitting his preference would have been to go into the NFL “like every player” dreams.
Two people swayed him to come back to the Plains — his “momma” and Carl Lawson.
The Georgia native’s mother didn’t make a secret out of her desire to see Adams leave Auburn with a degree in hand.
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Lawson was pushing Adams to return from a different angle. The oft-injured lineman wanted the chance to lineup next to Adams for a full season.
“We talked a lot about it a lot,” Adams said. “Both our decisions went together.”
Lawson spent the last two seasons sidelined with injuries. He tore his ACL as a sophomore then injured his hip in last year’s season-opener against Louisville.
During the 2013 season, Lawson’s playing time increased significantly as the year went on, but the then-true freshman and Adams were part-time players.
They would be returning to a completely different situation this fall with both locked into starting rolls for week one against Clemson.
“I feel like we’ve got a lot (unfinished business),” Adams said. “We came in as freshmen and played together in the Under Armour game and Rising Seniors game when we were in the 11th grade. Now just coming here we haven’t played a complete season yet. Both of us are going to try to stay healthy this year and compete against each other to try to make each other better and the team better.”
The 6-foot-4, 296-pounds isn’t just biding his time to get to the NFL either.
Adams is going all-in to make Auburn a contender this season and help lay the foundation for the future of the defense.
The defensive tackle has spent the past two months locked into the weight room preparing for the season. He wants to play at 290-295 this season under new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.
“It’s just trying to be a leader,” Adams said. “I know I have to be first. I have to be that guy that's first to everything. I have to win everything we do so I can show those guys this is how we do it so when I'm gone, that's what you all should be doing so the team can get better."
He talked openly about mentoring young lineman like Byron Cowart and Marlon Davidson, who are going through the same growing pains Adams experience as a freshman out of Dooly County High School.
“Everything takes time, it might not happen how you expect it to happen,” Adams said. “I know they are going to get it.”
Adams is also one of the seniors to come up with Auburn’s motto for spring practice of “earn it.” Coach Gus Malzahn explained the theme at his press conference earlier in the day.
“It’s as simple as that,” Malzahn said. “Earn your teammates’ respect, earn your coaches’ respect, earn it every day on the field and off the field. The players came up with that and I think it’s very appropriate.”
Adams along with fellow seniors Marcus Davis and Devaroe Lawrence thought the phrase was an appropriate response to a 7-6 seasons that left few experts predicting big things from Auburn in 2016.
“There's no last year now,” Adams said. “The new thing is to earn it. We've put it behind us. We'll probably not be in the Top 25, just like in 2013. We're a talented team but we have to earn everything we want."