As we continue our march to kickoff, we take a look at the top 100 recruits to sign with Auburn of all-time*. The rankings are based on 247’s composite recruit rankings, which unfortunately only date back to 2000.
You don’t know where Vienna, Georgia is. Vienna is a town of about 4,000 people in central Georgia, surrounded by miles of cotton and peanut farms in Dooly County. It’s not like there’s much else around, either: Vienna is the county seat. The high school, Dooly County High School, has an enrollment of less than 400, and plays in the single-A classification for GHSA football.
Why is this relevant? Because Montravius Adams, the #5 all time recruit for Auburn and a top 250 recruit ALL-TIME played his high school football at DCHS. Think about this for a moment: a 6’4”, 310 lb defensive lineman lined up for 50 games or so over the course of four years against maybe 200 lb offensive lineman. And even smaller running backs and quarterbacks. Here’s his high school tape from his junior year, where he just ragdolls these poor kids.
I hurt just watching this video. Adams led DCHS to three straight state championship games, but unfortunately the Bobcats lost all three games in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Even with all the hype surrounding him, thought, Adams led a fairly quiet recruitment. The rumors flew that he was a secret Clemson commit and then a UGA commit, and then that Auburn was closing on him when Gus Malzahn was rehired. Adams stayed quiet though. No verbal commits. No “Top 5” lists. Nothing. When asked why he didn’t want to put out any sort of leaders list until after his senior year, Adams just said, “I just ain’t ready yet”.
And then, on National Signing Day, he was ready. Adams committed to Auburn with a sweet airbrushed t-shirt on ESPNU.
Along with Carl Lawson, Adams came in and played right away in 2013. Though he didn’t start and his stat line wasn’t anything to write home about, anyone with eyes could see the talent he brought to the table. Sure, he was still raw (he was playing A high school football the year before!), but his bull rush meant he could help out in the rotation. In fact, Adams recorded a sack in his (and my) first game on the Plains against Washington State.
Adams started to come into his own as a starter in 2014. He led the defensive line in tackles, sacks, and TFL from the nose tackle position, although the team was missing its best pass rusher in Carl Lawson. He also managed to pull off something nobody had done for Auburn since Nick Fairley when he picked off a pass and recovered a fumble in the same game against Louisiana Tech.
Like so many other players, Adams started 2015 off with a bang against Louisville. The big tackle tallied seven tackles to go along with a sack and a forced fumble. His production dipped in 2015, with 3.5 TFLs compared to 7 and 2.5 sacks compared to 3 in his sophomore campaign. He was still one of the most productive players on Will Muschamp’s defense, but especially compared to the Steele defenses that were to follow, the 2015 unit wasn’t all that good.
After a disappointing year for everyone in Auburn, it was a pleasant surprise to see Adams return for his senior year. Though his production wasn’t through the roof, Adams was still one of the better defensive tackles in the country, especially considering how raw his talents were coming from DCHS. But, #1 came back to graduate, and he had his best year yet, with 43 tackles, 8 TFL, and 4 sacks to go with an interception, two fumble recoveries, and a touchdown return on one of the fumbles. Paired with a finally healthy Carl Lawson, the senior duo led Auburn’s defense to improve from 40th in S&P+ defense in 2015 to 16th in 2016. It’s a shame that the offense was only firing on all cylinders for the middle half of the year, because the defense played well enough (when it didn’t get stuck on the field all game) to make the team a contender. Montravius earned All-SEC and second team All-American honors for the 2016 season. Adams started every game in his junior and senior years at Auburn, giving him 36 total starts in his career.
Due to his breakout 2016, Adams was selected in the 3rd round by the Green Bay Packers in 2017. The lovable defensive tackle became a storyline during the Draft, when it was revealed he got the call from the Packers while he was in the hospital just after his son was born.
Here’s to hoping Montravius Jr. ends up in orange and blue some day.
Just as his Auburn career took a while to get going, Adams didn’t break out right away in the NFL. He only recorded two tackles in seven games in 2017 after a foot injury before the season, and went into 2018 on defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s bad side. According to Pettine, Adams was oversized and underdeveloped. But, as Ryan Wood from packersnews.com explains, Adams has worked hard for a chance to show the world he is an elite defensive tackle, worthy of that 5* rating all the way back in 2013. Adams has a chance to explode onto the scene in the NFL this year, and I’m certainly hoping he does.