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Matthew Adams Brings A Thumper To The Colts' Defense

Matthew Adams showed a wide variety of skills from the linebacker position at the University of Houston, but his explosiveness as a tackler helped attract the attention of the Indianapolis Colts, who selected him in the seventh round of this year’s draft.


INDIANAPOLIS — Watching Matthew Adams' game film from his University of Houston career is quite the sensory experience.

Yes, the eyes are treated to some exceptional play from the linebacker position, but the ears also get some love in the form of pad-popping hit after hit.

In fact, Houston defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio — a standout linebacker himself at Penn State who was a second-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in 1992 — considers Adams "one of the more explosive tacklers I've been around."

"Some of those guys just have that instinct and they have that in them," D'Onofrio said of Adams, via "A lot of that comes from being a good athlete, being an explosive athlete. Doing the things that he has done in the weight room in terms of the squat and the power clean that aid explosion help that."

Adams' prowess as a thumper certainly was attractive to the Indianapolis Colts, who selected him in the seventh round of this year's NFL Draft.

The Colts, who are in the midst of a change to a 4-3 base defense, are wide open at all three linebacker positions, and hope a young prospect like Adams can continue to produce at the professional level the way he did for the Cougars.

The 6-foot, 230-pound Missouri City, Texas, product played in 48 games with 26 starts at Houston and totaled an impressive 259 tackles (21 for a loss) with 7.5 sacks, three passes defensed, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

And while those numbers indicate Adams can do it all from the linebacker position, it's those aforementioned big hits that have brought his game to a whole other level.

Adams says he picks and chooses when to really bring it — but when he does, watch out.

"It is just the way I was taught growing up," Adams said, via "My dad and older brothers were big on hitting. One point my dad always made was that it was not a tackle unless you put your face on them, so I try to put my face on every ball carrier.

"Big hits get the defense going and can cause turnovers," he continued. "It is a high-risk, high-reward way to play and that is the player I am, but if the situation is where I need to make a for-sure tackle I'm still going to make that for-sure tackle."

With that kind of approach, perhaps it's not surprising to learn that Adams was also a two-time American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team selection.

He's one of several 2018 Colts draft picks that were not only productive players, but guys who were also counted on for their leadership as a team captain at their respective programs.

So while Adams hopes to continue making some noise — quite literally — for the Colts as they head into training camp, the team already knows he's the kind of personality it wants in the locker room.

"These are all high-character kids that were all leaders on their football teams, and that was an emphasis for us," Ballard said of Adams and others. "We wanted guys that love football, wanted to work, wanted to pay the price that it takes to be great. I think our scouts did a tremendous job really painting the picture of who these kids were and what they were going to bring to our organization."

"I'm a player that I love the game of football," Adams told's Caroline Cann shortly after he was selected by the team. "You know, I'm very passionate about football; I'm coming in to compete right away. They're going to know my name by the end of camp."

2018 NFL Draft - 7th Round 221st Overall - MATTHEW ADAMS

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