STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Mississippi native Deke Adams has returned to his home state to serve as Mississippi State’s defensive line coach, Bulldogs head coach Joe Moorhead announced on Wednesday.
A native of Meridian, Mississippi, and a former standout linebacker at Southern Miss, Adams served the last two seasons as defensive line coach at North Carolina in what was his second stop in Chapel Hill. He comes to MSU after a short stint at Memphis, where he had been named defensive line coach on Jan. 3.
“We are excited to welcome Deke back to the state of Mississippi,” Moorhead said. “His enthusiasm, track record of developing defensive linemen and familiarity with our recruiting footprint make him a perfect fit for our program. Deke understands that one of the hallmarks of Mississippi State football is elite defensive line play and development. There is no doubt we will continue that tradition under his watch.”
A 20-plus year coaching veteran who has played a key role in the development of six NFL draft selections since 2013, including two first-round picks, Adams first joined the UNC staff in 2012 as the defensive line coach under head coach Larry Fedora. He coached All-American defensive tackle Sylvester Williams, who was selected 28th overall by the Denver Broncos in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Tar Heels ranked third in the ACC with 97 tackles for loss, and Adams’ group was responsible for 40 of them. Williams and Kareem Martin were one of the ACC’s most dominant defensive line duos, combining for 29 TFLs. Martin ranked third in the conference with 15.5, while Williams finished sixth with 13.5.
“This is an amazing opportunity to be back in the great state of Mississippi,” Adams said. “Mississippi is home for me and my family. I’m looking forward to being a part of a great program and working with a defensive line unit that has a strong tradition.”
Adams spent the 2016 season as East Carolina’s defensive line coach. Prior to ECU, he worked under Steve Spurrier for three years at South Carolina from 2013-15 and helped guide the Gamecocks to a pair of bowl wins in 2013 and 2014.
At South Carolina, Adams coached defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Adams’ unit also featured defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, who was both a first-team All-SEC and All-America choice with Clowney. Quarles and Clowney became the first South Carolina duo since Del Wilkes and James Seawright to earn All-America honors in the same season.
During the 2017-18 seasons at UNC, Adams was instrumental in developing a young Tar Heel defensive line into a strength of the defense.
Before his first stop at North Carolina, Adams spent the 2009-11 seasons at his alma mater Southern Miss as defensive line coach on Fedora’s staff. Among the players he developed were first-team All-Conference USA defensive end Cordarro Law and second-round 2013 NFL Draft pick Jamie Collins. During his first season in Hattiesburg in 2009, Adams inherited a young, but talented unit that improved throughout the season. The Golden Eagle defense finished the season ranked 18th nationally in sacks and 24th in tackles for loss after checking in at 93rd and 68th, respectively, in those two categories a season prior.
Adams’ final season with the Golden Eagles in 2011 saw his front four allow only 112.6 rushing yards per game, which ranked 22nd nationally. He helped USM to the Conference USA title and an eventual 12-win season after a Hawaii Bowl win over Nevada.
Prior to Southern Miss, he coached linebackers at Louisiana-Monroe, while also serving as the coordinator of player development. Before ULM, he spent the 2006 and 2007 seasons at North Carolina A&T. Adams was elevated to interim defensive coordinator during his first season at North Carolina A&T after two games before earning the job on a permanent basis following the final contest. He coached the Aggies’ defensive line in 2006 and had responsibility for the linebackers in 2007 in addition to his coordinator duties.
Adams spent the previous four years at Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) University from 2002-05, coordinating the defense and coaching the defensive line in his last season.
He coached in the junior college ranks at Pearl River (Miss.) Community College from 1998-2002, serving as the linebackers coach during his first three seasons before he was named co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach in addition to his role as recruiting coordinator in 2001.
Adams began his coaching career in 1997 as the defensive line coach at Jacksonville (Ala.) State.
A three-year letterman, Adams played a key role as part of the Golden Eagles' "Nasty Bunch" defense. He wrapped up his collegiate career in 1994 with 76 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack and one interception.
In the classroom, he was a four-year member of the Southern Miss Dean's List. He earned his bachelor's degree in psychology and sports administration in 1995 before following with a master's degree, also from USM, in 1996.
Adams is married to the former Alexis Hall, a member of the 1,000-point club and four-year letterwinner for the USM women's basketball team. The couple has two boys, Jaylen and Jordyn.
2019-present: Mississippi State (Defensive Line)
2017-18: North Carolina (Defensive Line)
2016: East Carolina (Defensive Line)
2013-15: South Carolina (Defensive Line)
2012: North Carolina (Defensive Line)
2009-11: Southern Miss (Defensive Line)
2008: Louisiana-Monroe (Linebackers Coach/Player Development)
2007: North Carolina A&T (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
2006: North Carolina A&T (Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line)
2005: Ouachita Baptist (Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line)
2002-04: Ouachita Baptist (Defensive Line)
2001-02: Pearl River CC (Co-Defensive Coordinator/Secondary)
1998-2000: Pearl River CC (Linebackers)
1997: Jacksonville State (Defensive Line)
Bowl Games as a Coach
2014 Independence Bowl (South Carolina)
2014 Capital One Bowl (South Carolina)
2011 Hawaii Bowl (Southern Miss)
2010 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl (Southern Miss)
2009 New Orleans Bowl (Southern Miss)
The Deke Adams File
Birthdate: January 20, 1972
Hometown: Meridian, Miss.
Education: Southern Miss, 2008 (B.S., Psychology, Sport Administration) 1996 (M.S.)
Children: Jaylen and Jordyn