clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Throwback Thursday: Former Notre Dame Running Back Josh Adams — Born Rushing Yards

Born Rushing Yards

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

North Carolina State v Notre Dame
SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 28: Josh Adams #33 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs with the ball in the fourth quarter against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Notre Dame Stadium on October 28, 2017 in South Bend, Indiana.
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Seeing as there is no Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Bowling Green Falcons “Throwback Thursday” to write about today, I’m going to throwback to Josh Adams, and review the new book written about him by none-other-than his lovely mother, Apryll Adams: Born Rushing Yards - Grace 2. The Journey of Josh Adams.

If you’re a Notre Dame fan, which I’m sure you are since you’re reading this, you’re probably quite familiar with Josh Adams and the successes he attained during his time at Notre Dame. But in case you’ve forgotten, here are a few:


  • Single-Game Rushing Yards by Freshman (Nov. 28, 2015 at Stanford, 168, 1st)
  • Single-Game Rushing Yards by Freshman (Nov. 7, 2015 at Pittsburgh, 147, 3rd)
  • Single-Game Rushing Yards (Sept. 16, 2017 at Boston College, 229, 4th)
  • Single-Game Rushing Yards by Freshman (Nov. 14, 2015 vs. Wake Forest, 141, 5th)
  • Single-Game Average Per Rush (Sept. 16, 2017 at Boston College, 12.7, 6th)
  • Single-Game Rushing Yards by Freshman (Sept. 26, 2015 vs. UMass, 133, 9th)
  • Single-Game Rushing Touchdowns (Oct. 21, 2017 vs. USC, 3, t-10th)
  • Single-Season Rushing Yards by Freshman (2015, 835, 1st)
  • Single-Season Combined Rushing/Receiving Yards Per Game (2017, 156.4, 1st)
  • Single-Season Rush Average Per Game (2017, 146.1, 1st)
  • Single-Season Average Per Rush (2017, 8.9, 1st)
  • Single-Season Average Per Rush (2015, 7.1, t-5th)
  • Single-Season 100-Yard Rushing Games (2017, 6, t-6th)
  • Single-Season Rushing Yards (2017, 1,169, 11th)
  • Single-Season Combined Rushing/Receiving Yards (2017, 1,251, 11th)
  • Career Average Per Rush (2015-, 7.2, 2nd)
  • Career 100-Yard Rushing Games (2015-, 14, 4th)
  • Career Rush Average Per Game (2015-, 89.0, 4th)
  • Career Combined Rushing/Receiving Yards Per Game (2015-, 98.6, 5th)
  • Career Rushing Yards (2015-, 2,937, 6th)
  • Career Combined Rushing/Receiving Yards (2015-, 3,254, 6th)

There are plenty more of those where that came from, but I don’t want to bore you with a bunch of statistics. What you probably don’t know are the countless struggles and the adversity Josh had to face to get to all of the successes we witnessed him pile up during his time at Notre Dame.

I don’t want to tell you the whole story, because what fun would that be? But I would like to share with you an excerpt from “Born Rushing Yards - Grace 2: The Journey of Josh Adams” (which I have very much enjoyed reading), and I hope you, as well, will pick up a copy for yourself!

Born Rushing Yards by Apryll Adams

Man Down

Josh’s Junior year at South started out, just as his sophomore year ended, magnificently. This kid had tapped into something that most people never find. I came to understand that Joshua’s heart could cover everything that he put his mind to. His heart was so infused with possibilities and drive, with focus and determination, that a lot of the time, Joshua’s heart pushed him passed the physical limitations of his body. Joshua believed that he could…that he could change things on the football field, that he could change lives. I believe that he was born to do just that; change lives, starting with ours. But something else changed. Just four games into Joshua’s Junior year at South, something went wrong. Terribly wrong.

I was sitting in my usual seat, mid-way up the bleachers at the 50- yard line. I was watching my son do what he does on the field. There was the usual fanfare, the cheerleaders were shaking their rumps, the spirit team was chanting their chants and the fans were watching with excitement as South’s football team dazzled on the field. On that particular play, Joshua didn’t look right. He was tackled by the defense on a play that he should have very easily escaped! After all, Joshua was not easily taken down. He would boulder through two or three would-be defenders and even drag them a few feet before breaking tackles on his way to the endzone. So, I was puzzled when Joshua went down after a mere defender’s tackle. I am still unsure what may have or if anything had been plaguing Joshua physically or mentally that day. But from my experience and my observation of Joshua and the team, Josh just seemed to play extra hard that day because the team they were playing had been undefeated for years. Our offensive line was a bit weak, so Josh tried to compensate for the lacks in the Offense, and his heart took him places that his body just wasn’t prepared to go. When it came to football, Josh was not easily distracted. He could always focus and have his head in the game. But, I think this is what happened to Josh that day.

I watched with confusion as Joshua got up. “Ok, shake it off son,” I yelled. And it was second down. A few plays later would prove to be the worse event in Joshua’s football career. The ball was snapped, Josh took the handoff and rushed left to the sideline where he would most assuredly gain huge yardage as he typically did. Josh was on the outside running, so he rushed to the outside with what seemed like normalcy. But this time, two defenders caught Josh, tackled him and he went down. Boom! By this time, I was praying in my seat. “Dear God!” I yelled. I felt that there was something very wrong out on that field. Joshua never got tackled like that. Hey wait, Josh isn’t getting up! I jumped to my feet! “Get up son!” I yelled. But Josh didn’t get up! “Help me Jesus!” I cried. As the team’s staff ran onto the field to see about Joshua, you could hear a pin drop in the stadium. This was bad, very bad. And seemingly devastating. What could it be? I was trying to catch a glimpse of my son’s eyes. I need to see his eyes! But his hands were covering his face. Was he in pain? Was he crying? “What is going on,” I shouted to myself. I didn’t want to panic because I needed to stay calm for Josh, for Porscha and Jon too. So, I continued to pray as the team worked on Josh. “Father God, in the Name of Jesus, touch Joshua right now! Whatever went wrong, please make it right. Send your ministering Angels to the field please. Surround Joshua. Give him peace and let him know that you are there, God. Heal his body God, in Jesus name.”

By this time, the Coach and another team assistant was helping Joshua to his feet. You could hear the pause in the atmosphere slowly begin to lift as Joshua got up! With great relief, the crowd began to cheer and clap! Louder and louder they cheered as Josh hopped off the field. I felt pats on my shoulder, I saw people looking at me with relief. “Thank God!” I heard someone say. “We’re all praying,” another voice said. I could not sit back down. As Joshua hopped to the sideline, a few more people helped Josh off the field, down the walkway to the Titian’s locker room. My eyes followed my child, each hop he made. Something in me raised up, although I was already standing. “Go!” I said to myself, and I found myself at the bottom of the bleachers headed toward the locker room. I must have jumped down those bleachers so fast, I don’t even remember doing so. I wanted to run, but I didn’t want to alarm my other children, so I walked…fast!

When I got to the entrance of the locker room, I was met by the Assistant Coach who had a concerned yet loving look on his face. “Hey, Ms. Adams,” he said. “Josh is right back here.” And he led me to a back room where my baby was laying on his back while someone, a doctor, was examining his right knee. Without hesitation, I walked over to Joshua and kissed him two times on his forehead.

“Hey Baby.” I said.

“Hi Mom.” Josh answered.

I looked at his face, into his eyes in a way that only a mother could understand. I needed to feel what was happening on the inside of him. I needed to feel his soul, to ascertain how he was feeling. Josh tried to be brave as he tried to disguise his concern about his knee. But I felt his concern. I’m his mother. “It’s going to be alright. God’s got you! And so do I!” Simultaneously, the doctor was lifting Josh’s knee, and then lowering it. He gently squeezed both sides of his knee. Then he gently pushed the bottom part of Josh’s leg, to the left, then to the right.

“I think you’ve torn your ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) Josh. It seems that way, although you are able to walk on it and move it in a way that gives me pause, but, most likely, it’s a torn ACL. We need to confirm it with an MRI.” The doctor went on to explain that he would recommend one of the best Orthopedic specialists in town to take care of Josh.

To be honest, I didn’t know much about an ACL, much less about what happens when its torn, but I could tell that Joshua knew, as he put his arm across his face and sighed. “What does that mean?” I asked. The doctor explained it to me, and he also explained the repair process, and the time it would take to rehabilitate. Right then, I understood Josh’s sigh. His football season was over.

“God has not brought you this far to leave you, Josh. He (God) will perfect that which concerns you. Don’t be afraid, God has a plan.” I encouraged Joshua. “It’s in your name son.” I continued.

“Joshua means YAHWEH is salvation. It’s Hebrew, and it means ‘God Saves.’ He will save you now.” I could feel Joshua begin to settle his heart, as he remembered who God was. He was that same God who he worshipped in the endzone after each touchdown. He was the same God who saw him though a premature birth, a double hernia repair as an infant, and asthma. And yet, poured out Grace on him to allow him to shine so brightly on the football field, and in life, really. Yes, that same God would be faithful now to save.

Joshua’s faith was a large part of who he was; who he is. I raised my children to love Jesus, and to have a relationship with God, not just to be religious, but to seek a personal relationship with God because I instilled in them that we were created for a purpose, and that we live for God. Joshua embraced that at an early age. He could grasp the larger meaning, the larger picture that life presented, and he was comforted in that moment.

There’s so much more to this story, but like I said, I don’t want to spoil it for you! Head on over to Amazon and pick up a copy for yourself (the book is also available at Barnes & Noble and at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore)... you’ll need something to read during the bye week, which is just around the corner!

Until next week ... GO IRISH! BEAT FALCONS!

Cheers & GO IRISH!