Tigers add Deke Adams as defensive line coach

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Deke Adams will join Memphis as the Tigers’ new defensive line coach it was announced by head coach Mike Norvell, Thursday. Adams spent last season as the defensive line coach at North Carolina and previously spent time on staffs at South Carolina (2013-15) and East Carolina (2016).

“We would like to welcome Coach Adams, his wife, Alexis, and two boys, Jaylen and Jordyn, to the Memphis football family,” Norvell said. “It is a blessing to be able to add one of the best defensive line coaches in the country into our program. Coach Adams brings a great defensive mind and some of the most productive defensive fronts in college football. He pairs great energy and physicality into a group while caring as much for the student-athlete’s growth off the field as much as he does on it.”

Adams spent two separate stints on the staff at North Carolina. He first joined former coach Larry Fedora at UNC in 2012 as the defensive line coach, coaching first-round selection Sylvester Williams. He left in 2013 to take the same job at South Carolina, where he coached the number one overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Jadeveon Clowney. Kelcy Quarles and Clowney were both first-team SEC and All-American honorees, becoming the first South Carolina duo since Del Wilkes and James Seawright to earn all-America honors in the same season. He then returned to UNC for the 2018 season.

“With Deke being a native of Meridian, Mississippi, and spending as much of his coaching career in this region, we feel that we hit a grand slam in every area by hiring a dynamic recruiter who will continue to attract top notch talent here to Memphis,” Norvell said.

A three-year letterwinner at linebacker at Southern Miss, Adams was part of the Golden Eagle “Nasty Bunch” defense from 1991-94. He capped his career at Southern Miss as a four-year member of the Dean’s List and with 76 tackles, five TFL, one sack and an interception.

He began his coaching career in 1997 as the defensive line coach at Jacksonville State. After one season there, he moved to the junior college ranks, where he served as the linebackers’ coach at Pearl River Community College. He was elevated to co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Pearl River, and in 2001, was named defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator.

In 2002, Adams left the junior college ranks to take a job at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas. In 2005, he was promoted to defensive coordinator and continued his duties as a recruiting coordinator. He was at Ouachita Baptist until the 2006 season, when he moved to North Carolina A&T. There, two games into the 2006 season, he was named interim defensive coordinator to go with his defensive line duties. He was given that title on a permanent basis for the 2007 season, also coaching the linebackers.

A one-year stop at Louisiana-Monroe (2008) was followed by a return to his alma mater at Southern Miss in 2009. There, he helped a squad of young defenders finish the year ranked 18th nationally in sacks and 24th in tackles for loss. By 2011, Southern Miss had built a defensive front that allowed just 112.6 rushing yards per game, 22nd in the country, and just 3.3 yards per carry. USM won the Conference USA title and went on to beat Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl for a 12-win season.


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