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More From Adrian Cannon

I wrote a story on wide receiver Adrian Cannon for today’s paper. He has had quite a turnaround on and off the field. He is now Maryland’s top offensive playmaker and is coming off a spring semester in which he earned a 3.25 grade-point average. I had a long talk with Adrian recently, here is a little bit more of the conversation:

(How far have you come since last fall?)
Very far. I really worked hard on my game. My teammates been telling me for years my time would come, keep working hard.


(When did you meet with Ralph Friedgen and what did he tell you?)

It was in the weight room in the spring and after the spring game had a spring evaluation. He said you have all the ability, and it’s all about the effort you put forth. He told me I had a great chance to play at the next level and also to be successful in life. It’s up to you sky is the limit. I’m not the fastest, but all the other intangibles I have.

(Why were you struggling academically in the fall?)
I was struggling academically, mainly because of football. I was frustrated and thought I should have been playing more. I was looking at things I was just doing well. In the spring I picked it up. Had 3.25 [GPA] in the spring; I did great. My goal this camp was to solidify myself as the number one guy and to separate myself. I got to thank all coaches and teammates. Off the field I am a quiet guy, laid back; I am trying to be more of a vocal leader.

(What’s your focus like now?)
I am extremely focused. My ultimate goal is Sept. 5, every night think about it, talk to my mom, I am just ready. Last night I looked over all formations. Do something better every day. The little things make a big difference.

(Did you have a low point in the fall?)
My low point was probably the Eastern Michigan game. A friend who played ball with me all our lives, he started at wide receiver for Eastern Michigan. I really wanted to play against him. I played, but not that much. That might have been a low point. I’ve tried to get my confidence up.

(Do you think you dealt with the frustration the right way?)
Not at all. Just kind of closed up to a lot of people. Closed up to most of coaches. Most of my teammates tried to keep me up. I made plays every day in practice. But I had to cut down on missed assignments, it was affecting me, and affecting me in school, that’s one of the biggest things I learned, you have to be well rounded in everything you do. Right now, my academics are just as important as football. It was definitely hard.

(Were you upset you weren’t playing, or were you upset you weren’t doing well in practice?)
I’m going to be honest, I was making plays in practice. Catching balls. But I had a lot of missed assignments. It was the little things that kept me off the field. Back then, I didn’t understand it, didn’t want to believe it.

(What has Coach Lee Hull meant to you?)
Coach Hull, we know he cares about us as people. As a player, that is important. He came in and said his number one goal was to get to know us as people. Football is secondary. ‘I am going to treat you just like I treat my son. I’m going to be honest with you, I’m going to be fair with you. I’m going to teach you and I am going to push you.’ That is so important. He has our back. Every day we fight for him. He was one of the main influences to keep me going, told me my time was coming, keep working. I didn’t have a good attitude, didn’t talk to them, much, didn’t express to coaches how I was feeling. I just was not being myself. All the coaches know I like to have fun, I am real laid back, but you can tell when I am up and when I am down. I was definitely down. So now I try to keep my guys up and try to be a leader now. Talking to my mom. She’s the backbone. She sacrificed so much to me. She said football is great gave me a lot of opportunities, but you have to be focused, you’re one play away from never playing again. That’s why I push myself so hard every day. My weak point in my game was not playing well when I was tired. That is always in the back of my mind, even when I breath heavy. That’s one of the biggest things I try to change. I am doing it. Trying to stay focused.


(What class was the biggest issue?)

History 156 in the fall and I did not pass it. Pre-civil war, not the funnest class. I had a good professor. I retook it and got B-plus in it. In the fall, I barely went to class. When I did go to class I barely took notes. My coach asked me, ‘Can you pass that class?’ I’m going to pass it with a B or above. That’s why it’s my favorite class. I really put in the time and effort. It’s not the funnest class by a long shot. But I proved to myself I could do it. I am 16 credits away from graduating. I will never take a history class again in college. Four or five thick textbooks. My professor, he wrote a book for the class, so you had to read that book because tests are coming straight from the book. No way getting around that class.

(How often did you go?)
I had the class three times a week, maybe went once or twice, half taking notes, just getting through it. You’re only going to get out what you put in. that’s everything, football, life, family. I had the class around 12:30 and had practice around 2:15. Getting my mind right, thinking about practice, thinking about game plans for that weekend, you can do it but you can’t. One thing I learned from talking to Darrius, Isaiah and Danny. Darrius came to me after the season and said, ‘Don’t try to be like me, be better than me, everything from school, to football to everyday life.’ I respected that a lot. Now everyday I play with a chip on my shoulder.

By Eric Prisbell  |  September 1, 2009; 10:13 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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