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Challenges come early, often for Tigers' Adams

Committed to juggling football and track, safety Spencer Adams' spring became more challenging when Clemson football coaches decided to also work him at cornerback this spring.

"It's juggling a lot of things right now," Adams said Wednesday. "But it's something I signed up for because I told them I wanted to play two sports.

"That was something I wanted to do coming out of high school, so I put myself in this position. I just have to deal with it."

Coming off surgery to repair a torn knee ligament that set him back in both sports, Adams played only 12 snaps from scrimmage in eight cameo performances last fall. The No. 3 safety in the nation by ESPN as a senior at Butler High in Charlotte, he was a national hurdles champion in two events.

"It's been difficult in all aspects trying to learn a new position, trying to get back on the track for the first time in two years, going to college," Adams said. "I'm doing two things that I love and I'm going to get my school paid for.

"I'm enjoying myself right now."

His athleticism and speed seemed to make him a natural candidate at corner where Clemson has four experienced players.

Adams auditioned during bowl practice in December and secondary coach Charlie Harbison approached him with an offer he couldn't refuse shortly before spring drills.

"When I saw him run and not favor his knee, we knew then he could change direction," Harbison said. "Now he's moving strong."

Cornerback, particularly in this defensive scheme, requires players with steel nerves. Adams said he is also learning to adjust to seeing the game from a different angle. While safeties need a big-picture view, corners frequently need tunnel vision.

"You've got to forget about the plays real quick," Adams said, "Everybody's gonna get a ball caught on them.

"I feel pretty natural. I can play pretty much any kind of route, but it's kind of a funny feeling, out there on an island."

Adams was stretched more at the start of spring practice as indoor track season was winding down, but he caught Coach Dabo Swinney's eye in last week's stadium scrimmage and could be in the mix during preseason camp.

"I think I can play both," he said. "It gets kind of annoying but I'll play wherever they want me to play."

Meanwhile, he's eager to participate in the ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championships here next weekend. Adams was All-American indoors, finishing eighth in the high hurdles.

"I'm going to try to win outdoors because I choked at the ACC indoor," he said. "In high school I was a national champion in the 400 hurdles and the 110's. I didn't lose any of my speed.

"A lot of the dudes I ran against I beat before in high school," he said. "All these cats are running ridiculous times right now so I've got a lot of work to make up.

"I definitely will be a national champion overall before I graduate."