McAdams in line for walk-on success
Jim Leonhard was too small to play, but ended up All-America as a defensive back and punt returner. He has gone on to a productive NFL career.
Chris Borland was undersized and too slow to contribute as a freshman a year ago at linebacker. Not only did Borland earn All-Big Ten honors, he also pitched in with three extra-point kicks and a blocked field goal.
Drew McAdams hopes to follow in their footsteps.
The 2010 Madison East graduate was recruited by the Badgers as a preferred walk-on, choosing Wisconsin over scholarship offers from Illinois State, Minnesota-Duluth and Winona State.
McAdams played quarterback at East, finishing with 2,566 yards passing and 27 touchdowns last season, while adding 675 yards rushing and seven touchdowns on the ground. He was recruited by Wisconsin as an athlete, but hopes to remain at quarterback.
“I’m expecting to go there and be moved around until they can find a spot for me,” McAdams said. “That’s what they told me.
“Just because I love the game so much, I don’t care where they put me as long as I can play. But I hope to get a chance to stay at quarterback. That’s what I enjoy the most.”
Despite gaudy prep numbers, McAdams’ unorthodox throwing motion raises a red flag to some as to how it would translate at the collegiate level. They also said that about Tim Tebow at the University of Florida, and he left the Gator program with a 2008 Division I national championship.
Tim Simon got a first-hand look at McAdams as head coach at Middleton and this week is working with him as an assistant coach on the Division 1-3 South All-Star team. Simon believes McAdams’ athleticism will allow him to make an impact at Wisconsin, possibly at quarterback.
“Drew’s a kid that can make plays with not only his arm, but his feet, as well,” Simon said. “For Wisconsin to come in and recruit him as an athlete is the perfect fit. They will find somewhere on the field to utilize his ability.
“And with (Curt) Phillips getting hurt, Drew may get a chance to stay at quarterback. He certainly will have one of the best quarterback coach’s around in Paul Chryst.”
McAdams threw 14 touchdown passes last season to Marquis Mason, who will join him at Wisconsin.
Can he envision the same scenario unfolding at the UW?
“You never know,” McAdams said. “The two of us work well together. But I’m not really thinking about that now. I just want to play, whether it’s at cornerback, wide receiver or quarterback.”
Leonhard and Borland’s freakish athleticism made it impossible to keep them off the field. McAdams hopes to someday be in the same category.