MANHATTAN — Early in his football career, Wade Weibert watched long snappers live in their own cozy bubbles while their teammates hit each other with extreme force and fought their way through five grueling practices a week.
The Kansas State senior center used to call them lazy, and often considered them freelancers who joined the rest of the team only when they were needed for field goals and punts.
Then he met Corey Adams.
"You see him during practice, and he's over there on the sideline actually trying to get better," Weibert said. "He has little challenges he tries and is always doing little things to help him be the most accurate snapper he can be. Guys stop and see he's trying to better himself every day, no matter what the situation is."
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Work ethic is merely one of the ways Adams has separated himself from others who play his position. Long snappers are normally noticed by the public only in times of failure. Few care about the unsung ability to accurately toss a football between one's legs and into the hands of a punter or holder, but when something goes wrong the masses are sent into an uproar.
The special thing about Adams: He found a way to get noticed without experiencing one of those moments. The senior from Monument, Colo., has appeared in 48 games during his four years at K-State, and has been perfect on a combined 475 snaps, including 60 field goal/point-after attempts and 58 punt snaps this season.
He is regarded as one of the best long snappers in the country, and was chosen first-team All-America by one national publication — the first Wildcats player to earn first-team honors since wide receiver Jordy Nelson in 2007.
K-State coach Bill Snyder doesn't think he's exaggerating when he says, "He has the respect of every player in our program."
"He's just good at what he does," Snyder said. "He gets the ball from point A to point B consistently and with velocity. He's really a dedicated player who prepares himself so well."
As well as anyone else on the team. Adams treats his role on the team as if it's as important as any other, and does whatever he can to motivate and help his teammates.
Even when talking to the media, he tries to keep the team in mind. When asked what the best thing about this season was, he mentioned little of his personal awards.
"All of the hard work has paid off," Adams said. "My goal coming to K-State was to help the team any way I can to get to a bowl every year. We fell one win short the last three years and to actually get to go to a bowl game makes me feel somewhat accomplished. It's a good feeling, and I know everyone on this team feels the same way."
The Pinstripe Bowl will be the final college game in Adams' career. He will take the field for a few more plays and try to keep his perfect snaps record intact. Then he will be off to pursue a professional football career or to put his marketing degree to use.
He won't get the same sendoff as star running back Daniel Thomas, or offensive linemen Zach Kendall and Weibert.
But, as Weibert can attest, that doesn't mean he doesn't deserve equal billing.
"He's so good at what he does," Weibert said. "No matter what your job on the team is, if you have that much talent you're going to have street cred with the rest of the team. He's the best at what he does on this team.
"He's as good at snapping the ball as I would say Daniel is at running it. He's amazing. He's the best in the country."