In Play with Tom Markowski

One of Wayne County's best-kept secrets turning heads at Livonia Franklin

Football   | Tom Markowski

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Livonia – Sometimes all we need is a chance to show what gift we have to give.

Denzel Adams never played quarterback until last season, his junior year at Livonia Franklin. Coach Chris Kelbert and his staff gave Adams a crash course in how to manage the position and direct an offense. It was an experiment that didn’t pay fruitful dividends until this season.

Adams could be the best quarterback those outside of Livonia have never heard of, and Franklin could be the best 3-3 team in the Detroit area.

At 6-1 and 178 pounds Adams is an elusive runner who’s more physical than his size might indicate. This season Adams has passed for 700 yards and rushed for 800. He threw for 100 in last Friday’s 30-6 victory over Wayne Memorial.

“He’s having an unbelievable year,” Kelbert said. “He was a slot and a defensive back on JV and we didn’t have our quarterback position settled. We spent the offseason before his junior year working with him. He’s beginning to understand what other teams are doing against us. He’s becoming a better passer. Teams are focusing on stopping the run.

“We want to use his ability to get into space. When he runs he’s like a fullback. He doesn’t want to go down. That’s good and bad.”

Good because you have a player who gives that extra effort. Bad because by giving that extra effort Adams is more susceptible to taking more hits.

The attention Adams draws also opens up other areas of Kelbert’s offense, an offense that has changed to suit Adams’ abilities. Under Kelbert Franklin has been a wing-T team. With Adams the Patriots have gone to the shot gun with read option tendencies.

Others have benefitted, too. Running back Nate Binkiewicz has rushed for 800 yards thanks, in part, the teams keying on Adams.

So where does all this leave Adams and the possibilities of him playing in college? He has yet to receive a scholarship offer but Kelbert said college recruiters are on his trail.

“He’s got the athleticism,” Kelbert said. “He might be a slot. He might be a cornerback. He’s got great hands. On his 7-on-7 team he plays receiver.”

For the next three games, perhaps more, Adams will remain Franklin’s quarterback much to the chagrin of opposing defenses.