Sept. 10, 2004
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Adam Shada says it takes a lot of confidence to play cornerback. That says a lot about the position, but it also says a lot about Shada, the only true freshman left on the two-deep depth chart after the first week of play.
Shada helped lead Millard North High School in Omaha, NE, to three consecutive undefeated seasons and the 2003 Nebraska state championship. For his career, he recorded 96 tackles, eight interceptions and five blocked punts.
As a senior, he rushed for 1,340 yards with a 191.4-yard average per game, scoring 20 touchdowns.
What’s not on his player bio, though, is that he missed the last six games of his high school career and had to watch his team win the state championship from the sidelines.
Indeed, there was a time when Shada didn’t even think about playing football at all – let alone seeing playing time on one of the best defenses in the country.
After the second week of his senior season, Shada tore a tendon in his right shoulder which by week seven had caused a blood clot that broke off into his lung. The injuries required several surgeries and months of rehabilitation.
“It was definitely scary, considering the fact that I may not be able to play again,” Shada said. “I didn’t even think about football until I was out of the hospital and in rehab. I was just worried about getting through that night.”
He got through the surgeries and the rehab with the help of Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle. The same coach that has helped more than 100 players into the NFL was also able to help a brand new player go from hospital bed to Kinnick Stadium.
“Anytime a player misses time because of injury, I’m sure they have a different perspective on things. My guess is that it probably doesn’t hurt them at all.”
Head Coach Kirk Ferentz
“I got rehabbed up and Coach Doyle got me physically where I needed to be over the summer, and I’m where I’m at right now,” said Shada.
And where Shada is right now is in a pretty good position, if not an expected one.
“I didn’t really doubt anything, but I had quite a bit of surgery since last season, so I kind of looked at it as hopefully I’ll have time to heal up and have time to compete for a spot,” Shada said. “But I really wasn’t expecting these opportunities.”
“Anytime a player misses time because of injury, I’m sure they have a different perspective on things,” Head Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “My guess is that it probably doesn’t hurt them at all.”
According to Ferentz, Shada’s injuries have yet to show in practice.
“From day one he’s done a nice job,” the coach said. “He has a good attitude and a good work ethic. He’s picked everything up, and he’s been keeping pace with everybody.”
On top of everything else that Shada’s been put through, the Top Male Scholar Football Player for the state of Nebraska and for the Metro Area in 2003 has been through a position change since he came to Iowa.
A defensive back, QB and wide receiver as a prep, Shada was moved to corner and was also a safety candidate.
“I was always hoping that I would be corner,” said Shada, “because that’s what I love to play, but where I fit in here is pretty much in the coaches’ hands. Having a chance to play football, I’m not going to be too picky.”
Shada’s only played corner a few times when he was a freshman in high school. But he says he enjoys the one-on-one element the position offers.
“It’s great to be back on the field. I missed it so much having to watch my team win a state championship without me the last six games of the season. It’s just awesome to be able to compete again.”
Cornerback Adam Shada
“I love to compete and I love that feeling: just you and them out there and no excuses,” he said. “I really like that one-on-one, that skill involved and all that goes with that.”
The freshman is one spot behind starting left corner Jovon Johnson, and will probably get to see action when Iowa (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today; No. 16 AP) takes on intrastate rival Iowa State at 11:10 p.m. on Saturday inside Kinnick Stadium.
“That’s exciting,” Shada said, “because I have no clue what’s coming. The last game was my first time being in Kinnick for a game, so it’s been an experience.
“It’s great to be back on the field. I missed it so much having to watch my team win a state championship without me the last six games of the season. It’s just awesome to be able to compete again,” Shada added.
Not surprisingly, Shada says that his injuries have provided a significant amount of motivation to get back onto the field.
“It really has,” he said. “I remember a week ago playing at practice and I really hadn’t thought about it because you’re playing football and you’re not really thinking about your past, and I realized a while ago how I wasn’t even thinking about playing football and how blessed I was and how I had been taking it for granted.
“I have to be motivated like that because every day I have to play football is an extra day.”
Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com