SEATTLE (AP) — If not for injuries, Washington left tackle Trey Adams would probably already have been in the NFL.
Setbacks cost the big left tackle most of two seasons, however, and now he's preparing to start his final year with the 13-ranked Huskies when they open against FCS powerhouse Eastern Washington on Saturday.
"Things happen and I'm happy I'm here," Adams said. "Couldn't be happier with the decision I made. That's not really what I want to think about right now."
Adams is part of an offensive line that should be an area of strength for the Huskies with a group of five linemen that all have significant starting experience, although not always at the position they will play this season.
Adams, left guard Luke Wattenberg, center Nick Harris, right guard Jaxson Kirkland and right tackle Jared Hilbers make up the group that should help the adjustment for new starting quarterback Jacob Eason and the Huskies' pack of running backs taking over for Myles Gaskin.
"Anytime you've got veteran lines it's going to help either side of the ball. That's where it always starts," coach Chris Petersen said. "So certainly it helps for sure."
Two years ago, Adams was a preseason All-American who seemed headed toward an early entry into the NFL draft, where he was likely going to be a first-round pick.
His plans changed when he suffered a torn ACL in a midseason game against Arizona State. While it was a major injury and involved significant recovery time, Adams was on course to return for the start of last season when the second major setback took place.
Just before Washington's opener against Auburn, Adams suffered a back injury that required surgery. He didn't see the field until a November game against Oregon State.
A player who had been mostly healthy and reliable during his career couldn't get on the field. Adams tried his best not to get upset.
"It's part of the game at this point," Adams said. "If you're mad during recovery, or after it happens, then you're not going to recover as fast. There are studies on that. Good attitude toward recovery and getting back, it helps you get back faster. I believe in that, I did that and I think it worked for me."
While Adams tried to keep a positive attitude during his recovery, he also needed reassurance that his body could hold up without breaking down. That came in the Apple Cup last November. Adams was only supposed to play a handful of snaps against Washington State but an injury to Hilbers had Adams slipping and sliding on the snow-covered field for most of the game.
"That game was probably one of my favorite games I've played in," Adams said.
Not surprisingly, the entire process of coming back from the injuries has made Adams more appreciative of his opportunities and, if possible, more excited about his final season with the Huskies.
"His energy is one that can't really be duplicated," Harris said. "He's an interesting human to say the least. He's one of my good friends. I'm glad that he's back, he's in good spirits, and he's feeling good and he's moving good. He's building every day back to 100%. He looks pretty damn good right now."
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25