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Two Sports, One Decision For Jordyn Adams

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(Photo by Cliff Welch)

As Green Hope High made history at the 2018 National High School Invitational tournament by becoming the first North Carolina team to make it to the final four, leadoff hitter Jordyn Adams was regularly drawing the eyes of scouts and scouting directors alike.

A two-sport athlete who is committed to North Carolina to play both baseball and football, Adams became significantly less likely to reach campus in Chapel Hill in the fall after hitting .286/.412/.500 with a tournament-best five stolen bases across four games at USA Baseball’s National Training Complex.

Adams also plays wide receiver for his Cary, N.C., high school.

“I knew I just had to come out here and just play,” Adams said moments after Green Hope fell to Orange (Calif.) Lutheran High, 9-3, in the NHSI championship game. “My team needs me and there are a couple players on our team who we know have to play well just to win and stuff like that.

“But coming into this week I knew there were going to be a bunch of scouts . . . So I just planned on playing to the best of my ability and showing them what I could do.”

Turns out, Adams can do a lot of things on the baseball field, the most obvious of which is run. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound center fielder covers a huge swath of ground and takes clean, easy routes to fly balls. But he’s most disruptive when he’s on the bases: stealing, taking the extra bag and generally proving to be nuisance for opponents.

Though Adams had one of his quieter days against Orange Lutheran—he went 0-for-3 with one walk and one strikeout—opposing head coach Eric Borba has watched many of Adams’ games and understands the impact he can make.

“He’s a game-changer in center field and when he gets on the basepaths,” Borba said.

Adams is at least a double-plus runner and likely an 80 runner underway on the 20-80 scouting scale, with long and powerful strides. Baseball America clocked him at 4.12 seconds to first base, which is a 70 grade for a righthanded batter. While Adams’ run tool is his loudest, he showed potential with the bat as well.

Setting up in a slightly open stance with a medium leg kick, Adams drops his hands down and back in his load, but he showed impressive bat-to-ball skills throughout the tournament. He hit both breaking pitches and low-90s velocity with authority, including a double and a triple. Per TrackMan, Adams had the tournament’s fifth-highest average exit velocity at 93.4 mph and also was responsible for the third-hardest hit ball at NHSI: a 106.1 mph missile.

If Adams wants to play professional baseball, he is considered by multiple scouting directors to be a talent worthy of selection in the top few rounds. However, Adams is currently difficult to peg because of his relative lack of track record and the fact that he could have a future on the football field as well. When asked about the two sports, Adams said he doesn’t lean one way or the other.

“I definitely feel like I’m a two-sport athlete,” he said. “I’ve been playing baseball longer than I’ve been playing football. So football kind of comes naturally to me. I work more at baseball than I do at football, to be honest with you.”

Adams’ parents figure to have important roles in the decision-making process when it comes time for the draft in June, but they will let the process play out and see what the best route for Jordyn turns out to be. Both Adams’ father, Deke, and mother, Alexis, played collegiately at Southern Mississippi—Deke was a football player while Alexis played basketball—while Deke is also currently a defensive line coach for the UNC football team.

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“It’s kind of early for us to think about it right now,” Adams said, when asked about the draft. “It’s really more my parents thinking about it right now than me. Me, I’m just playing and enjoying my senior year.”

There are some similarities that can be drawn between Adams and class of 2017 shortstop Greg Jones, who ranked No. 75 on the BA500 predraft rankings last year but went to UNC Wilmington after being selected in the 17th round by the Orioles. Jones was a late-rising North Carolina prep who had an impressive package of tools—including 70-grade speed—but lacked much track record or consensus among pro teams.

While Adams was at last summer’s Under Armour All-America Game (where he delivered the game-winning hit), teams likewise don’t have a ton of track record with him, thanks to his prestige on the gridiron. Adams could turn out to be even more polarizing than Jones was at this time last year, as an outfielder rather than a shortstop, with the added layer of complexity that comes with his football commitment.

Where he winds up going on draft day will depend on his desire to continue playing football—and of course how the rest of his spring with Green Hope unfolds as area scouts bear down on him.

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