The gridiron glory of offensive lineman Isaiah Adams

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Former Golden Hawk offensive lineman Isaiah Adams was drafted into the NFL in the third round, seventh overall, on April 26 by the Arizona Cardinals. The Ajax, Ontario native and Political Science major played for the Golden Hawks during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Adams played only one game in his first year, having been redshirted to prepare him schematically and physically.

Adams started into his second year as a boundary tackle, playing in eight games. He lined up alongside other Golden Hawks and future OUA all-stars JD Richardson and Drew Mairleitner, as well as future CFL players Bryce Bell and Braydon Noll.

“As soon as he committed, the first thing he wanted to know was, ‘How do I get in the playbook?’ and ‘How do I start working out the way you guys work out?’” said offensive line coach Zach Scotto, who mentored Adams during his two seasons at Laurier.

Prior to attending Laurier, Adams graduated in 2018 from Father Donald MacLellan Catholic Secondary School. During high school, he played for the esteemed Durham Dolphins Football Club and was selected as an OVFL all-star in 2016, also playing for Team Ontario. One of Adams’s iconic games came on October 11, 2019, before the Thanksgiving weekend, in front of a sold-out crowd against the University of Waterloo.

As soon as he committed, the first thing he wanted to know was, ‘How do I get in the playbook?’

Zach Scotto, Laurier offensive line coach

Michael Faulds, football manager and head coach, recalls Adams being a catalyst in the match that stretched into triple -overtime. “From our vantage point, it looked like our quarterback was throwing to Isaiah. But Brentyn Hall, in the back of the end zone, caught it to seal the win. Isaiah would laugh, thinking maybe the ball was going to him,” said Faulds.

Scotto echoed similar thoughts when reflecting on Adams’ game. “I remember thinking, ‘Holy shit, Isaiah’s going to end this game!’” he said.

Despite being offered a Canadian Athletic scholarship to stay at Laurier for a third year during the COVID-19 pandemic, Isaiah decided to pursue his NFL aspirations through junior college, representing Garden City Community College in 2021. Junior college provides student-athletes with an opportunity to improve their skills and academic standing before transferring to a university program.

“The decision to go was hard for him,” said Scotto. “He and I spoke on the phone for maybe an hour. It took a very natural conversation with some of the guys that he was training with back in Durham to tell him, ‘Dude, you’re good enough, you can excel in that environment.’” Isaiah garnered the attention of American scouts, leading to offers from multiple U.S. colleges, ultimately signing with the University of Illinois.

He played exceptionally well, starting all 25 games in two seasons for the team in 2022 and 2023. Through this momentous journey, he reached the biggest showcase of football excellence, with his Laurier affiliates rooting for him.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a long professional football career, whether that’s 15 years in the NFL…which is what he’s wanted for a long time,” said Scotto.


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