Prep Signing: Salisbury’s Adams is a Western Michigan Bronco

  • Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013 11:05 a.m.
JON C. LAKEY/SALISBURY POST Salisbury High School's Keion Adams and his mother Tanika Burnon celebrate Keion heading to West Michigan University to play football.
JON C. LAKEY/SALISBURY POST Salisbury High School's Keion Adams and his mother Tanika Burnon celebrate Keion heading to West Michigan University to play football.

SALISBURY — They say good things come to those who wait.

A patient Keion Adams waited and local sports fan Brian Messisco, an unofficial, let’s say, mentor to prep athletes around here, came through.


Messisco knew Bill Kenney when he was an assistant at Penn State. When Messisco was told Adams hadn’t signed, he made a phone call to Kenney, now an assistant at Western Michigan.

“The next thing I know,” chuckled Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan, “I’m on the phone with Bill Kenney. He told me, ‘We’ve got one scholarship and we need a defensive player. We like your guy.’

“And the next thing you know, Keion is flying to Kalamazoo, Michigan.”

Just like that, Adams became a Western Michigan Bronco.

And he can’t wait to play in the Mid-American Conference under head coach P.J. Fleck, a former Rutgers assistant who followed Greg Schiano to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season.

“He is fast-paced and a fast tempo,” Adams said. “He took a lot of tools from the NFL and put them in a college program.”

Adams was thinking of joining teammate Justin Ruffin as a preferred walk-on at Appalachian State but added, “This is a full ride. I couldn’t pass this up.”

Adams might get quality playing time right away, due to injuries and a need for linebackers. He said he could play a hybrid — half linebacker, half defensive end.

“I’ll get to rush the passer and be a little DB,” he said.

He’ll also get to see a completely different atmopshere from Salisbury. Kalamazoo, a city of around 75,000, is a 12-hour drive.

“I’ll get adjusted,” Adams assured. “I wanted to get away and get into a whole different environment. See the world, basically.”

Adams will definitely be seeing big-time football. Western Michigan opens at Michigan State on Friday, Aug. 30. The Broncos also play at Big Ten Northwestern and Iowa.

“He’ll get to play on a big-time level and he’s got to be excited about that,” Pinyan said.

Simply put, Adams, at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, was the best athlete on the football field in Rowan County last season.

Pinyan remembers the time he caught a pass against South Rowan and hurdled a player.

There was the acrobatic, one-handed interception against West Rowan. His biggest stop may have come on fourth-and-inches against High Point Andrews in a 36-35 win. Pinyan even goes back to Adams’ sophomore year when he made two big catches to help Salisbury win a state championship.

“He’s had a ton of ‘wow’ moments,” Pinyan said.

And Adams has produced them in football, basketball and track.

“Imagine getting him on a program where they’re feeding him and working him and having him focusing on just one sport,” Pinyan said.

When the season began, ACC schools saw the athleticism and inquired.

“I don’t know what happened,” Adams said.

Doesn’t matter now. Adams is glad he waited for the perfect opportunity. He said Western Michigan’s campus was bigger than he expected and the football facilities are first-rate.

“It’s a business, as far as recruiting,” Adams shrugged. “I found the right business as far as Western Michigan.”

Pinyan said he had only one request for the Bronco coaching staff.

“They need to get some nonconference games closer to Salisbury,” he laughed.

Word is, Pinyan’s got Brian Messisco on it.

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