Southern Miss redshirt sophomore Jaylond Adams had been waiting for last Saturday’s season opener with Alcorn State since Sept. 29 of last year when he suffered a season-ending foot injury at Auburn.
It didn’t take long for Adams to make an impact.
The speedy, 5-foot-10, 180-pound Adams took the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to ignite the Golden Eagles to a 38-10 victory. It was the first time in the 103-year history of Southern Miss football a player had done that feat. Adams wasn’t through. He returned a punt in the fourth quarter 80 yards for another score. No Southern Miss player had ever done that either. Adams had 203 all-purpose yards, also catching three passes for 21 yards and returning another punt for 13 yards. He was named the Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week.
“It feels great to get into the end zone twice coming off an season-ending injury,” Adams said. “Without those guys on those units, it wouldn’t have been possible. Coming into the season I was just ready to get onto the field with my bro’s. I was just taking it day by day. (Head coach Jay Hopson) put a big emphasis on special teams. We bought into it as a team and got the job done.”
“Jaylond had a great game,” Hopson said. “But he’s also wise enough to know those guys on the front line – on that kickoff and punt return – set him free. We challenged those guys and I think they answered the bell.”
“They blocked well on the returns and sprung Jaylond loose,” Southern Miss quarterback Jack Abraham said. “He is an explosive player and I’m excited to see what he can do the rest of the year.”
Adams was on his way to a great year a year ago. He was second on the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns when he was injured at Auburn. He had 25 catches for 262 yards and two touchdowns. Adams started that year off big too with a 75-yard touchdown catch on the first snap of the game against Louisiana Monroe. He finished with nine catches for 158 yards and one TD. Because he played in only four games, he was able to redshirt under the new NCAA rules.