Attention growing for Ridgeview star Adkins
Allen Gregory | Bristol Herald Courier
Jul 28, 2018
Ridgeview #24 Trenton Adkins looks for running room in a 2017 game against Wise County Central.
CLINTWOOD, Va. – One year ago, Ridgeview High School running back Trenton Adkins was just hoping to gain some experience as a freshman.
Flash forward a year.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Adkins is now a prized prospect, earning offers from seven NCAA Division I bluebloods such as Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina and Penn State.
“It’s crazy,” Adkins said.
The buzz around Adkins gradually began to spread in 2017 as he accounted for 1,228 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns on 169 carries.
Adkins, who was 5-10 and 165 last season, did not even start the first game.
“I expected to maybe rotate in the backfield and possibly play some junior varsity, but I didn’t expect to start,” he said. “Things just took off.”
During Saturday’s media day session at Ridgeview, Adkins revealed that Florida is his latest suitor.
“I’m planning to talk to them at some point this weekend,” he said. “I was hoping to get some college attention in high school. I definitely didn’t expect it to come this early, though.”
Adkins said that his father, Antonio Vaughn, was a standout running back and linebacker at Hunters Lane High School in Nashville, Tennessee.
“He was going to play football in college until he shattered his kneecap,” Adkins said. “He helps me a lot with different aspects of football.”
For Adkins, the climb to stardom began around the second grade when he decided to compete in the Crunch Bunch youth football league in Clintwood.
The low-key athlete earned praise for his array of skills, yet ego was never an issue
“People kept telling that I could be good. I just didn’t really think much about it at the time,” Adkins said.
Adkins said he developed more confidence after competing with blue-chip athletes at camps and leading the Wolfpack to a 9-2 record and the Region 2D playoffs.
“I went to the Tennessee Gridiron camp last spring in Johnson City. Then, I began to think that maybe I could really do something after last season,” Adkins said.
So just what can Adkins do on a football field?
“Everything,” said Ridgeview senior receiver/cornerback Jacob Hensley. “He can read the field and break tackles. And he goes full-speed whenever he gets the ball, including practice.
“Trenton is a heck of an athlete. He’s surprised us all from where he was in middle school to where he’s at now.”
Ridgeview head coach Rick Mullins, one of the most experienced football minds in far Southwest Virginia, said he’s never coached an athlete who has received so much attention at such a young age.
“Recruiting has changed,” Mullins said. “Everybody has these camps now and Trenton has gone to a few. He also put up some good numbers as a freshman and he’s got some people looking at him.”
Mullins said his lethal weapon has the essentials for success, plus some intangibles.
“Trenton has really good vision and balance, and he can just see things develop on offense really well,” Mullins said. “He’s a not a burner, but not many people catch him from behind.
“And Trenton has worked hard in the weight room and put on some weight. With recruiting, a lot comes down to what have you done for me lately, so you have to keep performing and improving. If Trenton keeps his head on straight, he’s got a bright future.”
Adkins readily admits that’s content to stay in the background with his teammates. Judging from Saturday, he’s warming up to the relentless recruiting and interview game.
“I got a lot of mail and calls, but it doesn’t get on my nerves,” said Adkins, who has never attended a NCAA Division I game in person. “I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of players and coaches.”
After returning from a week-long vacation to Myrtle Beach on Friday, Adkins said he’s considering attending a camp at Penn State today and plans to visit the University of Tennessee campus this week.
The immediate concern for this 15-year-old phenom is preparing his body for the rigors of the Mountain 7 District.
“I feel like I have a target on my back this season, but that just makes me want to work harder,” Adkins said. “I try to lift weights as much as possible and take in protein.”
It helps that Adkins lives within walking distance of the sprawling Ridgeview campus.
“Yeah, I’m here just about every day,” he said.
It will be easy for recruiters, defensive coordinators and fans to spot Adkins. He will be the centerpiece of Ridgeview’s spread offense.
“The spread gives me a little more time to read the defense and decide where to go,” Adkins said. “I’ve never worked on my vision and balance, but it just comes naturally and coaches seem to like it.
“We have a lot of talented and experienced linemen, and that helps a ton. Those guys make the pathways to run through. We’re all ready for the season and it looks like we’re going to have a lot of fans watching us.”
Judging by the interest so far, plenty of those Ridgeview spectators will be representing a college.