Coach Jeff Adams was in a football staff meeting one day many years ago when he heard someone crying nearby. He opened up a locker, and there stood his three year-old son, Mackenzi.
"It's not easy being a coach's kid. Some of the players had been joking around and stuffed him in a locker," the elder Adams said. "Those kind of experiences, coupled with the knowledge, that comes with being the coach's son, is invaluable for a quarterback. It makes you that much tougher as a player, as well as smarter. Of course, it doesn't hurt that (Mac) is a 4.0 student."
That toughness and diligence has paid off for Tulsa Union (Okla.)'s Mac Adams, a 6-foot-2, 183 lb. dual-threat signal-caller and Vandy's first commitment of the 2005 class. After leading his new team to the Promised Land with a 6-A state championship title over rival Jenks High, he was upgraded by rivals.com to three-star status (Vandy's only three-star commitment) and was pursued by many prestigious football programs.
"He committed so early to Vandy last June that many teams who caught on to his play of late didn't really have a chance," Coach Adams said.
Among the teams that offered Adams were Kansas, Kansas State, Tulsa, TCU, North Texas, and Texas Tech. Alabama also showed late interest, which resulted in the Adams visiting Alabama.
"Texas Tech really came on strong after Mac helped lead Union to the state championship," Coach Adams said. "So for about the last week of the season, the recruiting was pretty heated."
However, Mack was always firmly committed to Vanderbilt, Coach Adams said. "He fell in love with Vanderbilt when he visited," Adams said. "During the camp, after Mac ran the 40, threw the ball, and ran threw some other drills, most of which he did phenomenal in, the coaching staff offered him on the spot. We then went up to Coach Johnson's office to get a feel for the program and we felt right at home.
"Coach Johnson seems like a good Christian man and the staff is keen on moral values. That factored into our family's and, ultimately, Mac's decision, a whole lot."
Since Mac committed, Vanderbilt has had one of its most disappointing seasons in recent memory. However, according to Coach Adams, a winning program was not at all a prerequisite for Mac.
"I absolutely feel that Mac can come in and turn the program around," Coach Adams said. "We weren't concerned about winning or losing because Mac's never lost, at any level. In high school, he won 41 games as a starter.
"It's really a blessing to be able to watch him in action. The thing that was most impressive about his play was not only his athletic ability but also his ability to run the offense. His ability to rally the troops and call audibles at the line was truly impressive and, as a coach, you don't see that too often over the years with high school prospects."
If Coach Adams had to pick one player that closely resembles Mac in playing style, it would happen to be a player Vanderbilt fans hold in high esteem.
"We've seen Jay Cutler play quite a bit, and I think Mac is very similar in style," Coach Adams said. "We think (Mac's) trademark is his passing game, but he also runs very well. He's a guy who has been consistently timed with a 4.5 40 in various college camps.
"(Mac's) independence and maturity also set him apart as a quarterback. He's an old senior, at 19, and knew what he would have to do to earn a scholarship and the generalship he would have to exhibit. He has an uncanny work ethic."
While the Adamses haven't been briefed on whom Mac will play behind when he gets to Vandy or whether he'll redshirt, they do know that Mac is very excited to get to know his teammates.
"We've met Steven Bright two or three times and we've also met (red shirt freshman) Chris Nickson," Coach Adams said. "That's the thing that tickles Mac the most is getting to know the other quarterbacks. He was absolutely ecstatic when he heard that Jay was coming back for his senior year. He can't wait to be mentored by (Cutler)."
Conversely, the Adamses were very sad when they learned of Kwane Doster's unexpected passing.
"We met (Kwane) before during a visit and liked him," Coach Adams said. "Another coach at Union actually pointed it out to me after he read about it in the newspaper and I went out to the practice field and informed Mac. Needless to say, he was very upset.
"I called Coach Johnson about it and gave my condolences. We weren't even there yet and we already felt like part of the family."
The Adamses plan on making another sojourn to Nashville soon, probably for a team picnic on March 26th.
"Mac's really looking forward to starting his career at Vanderbilt and getting down to business," Coach Adams said. "I can only go on what I know about his past accomplishments, and because of that, I think he'll be a terrific addition to the student-athlete community there, as well as an excellent player."
"If you really think about it, Vanderbilt was only a few points away from being a 6-5 team. They came so close and we really think Vandy's going to turn the corner next season."