Spencer Adkins has seen his reputation rise from the best player on the Naples High team to the best college prospect in Southwest Florida to one of the best prospects in the nation.Adkins ranked No. 3 out of 3,500 incoming seniors who were compared at 11 Nike invitational football-skill competitions held across the country during the offseason.Adkins’ score in a new system called the Sparq rating has grabbed the attention of national college football recruiting analysts such as Dwight Thomas of LRSSports of Springfield, Ill., and Brian Stumpf, the director of player personnel for Student Sports of Los Angeles.
“He’s going to be on our list of top 100 players, and he’s going to be our No. 7 linebacker in the country,” Stumpf said. Adkins plays defensive end, but he projects to be a linebacker in college.Adkins, who stands 6-foot and weighs 228 pounds, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.59 seconds. He bench-pressed 185 pounds 35 times in a row. He did a standing vertical jump of 35 inches.
Adkins also ran the 20-yard shuttle run — 5 yards to a stop, then 10 yards in the other direction to a stop and then 5 more yards the other way — in 4.31 seconds.The results of those four events were taken by a company called Sparq Training and put into a “secret” formula that measures speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness.Adkins had a Sparq rating of 101.74. Only Ryan Reynolds, a 6-2, 216-pound linebacker from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman (108.70) and Ekom Udofia, a 6-1, 288-pound defensive end from Chaparral High in Scottsdale, Ariz., (102.33) had higher Sparq ratings.
Of the 3,500 players, no one else scored above a 99.00.”It’s a topic for debate among coaches and fans and recruiters,” said Keith Peters, head of media relations for Sparq. “We don’t pretend that it measures all the necessary skills that a football player needs in a game on the field. But it’s just another way to look at how good an athlete is.”
Peters called Adkins “the leader coming out of the clubhouse.””It is comparing apples to apples,” Peters said.Thomas compared Adkins to other top Florida prospects of recent years, such as Emmitt Smith, Fort Myers graduate Jammi German and North Fort Myers graduate Jevon Kearse, all of whom played in the NFL.
“He’s the No. 1 in Florida,” Thomas said of Adkins. “That’s what my impression is. I’m just really high on him.”Adkins said he’s not going to let everyone’s high expectations change the way he plays or prepares.
“I’m just going to focus on getting back to a state championship,” said Adkins, a freshman on the 2001 Naples Class 5A state-title team.”I’m not going to worry about the hype.”