Steamboat Springs Joel Adams certainly didn't take the most conventional way to a career.
But the former Steamboat Springs High School and University of Colorado football player did follow a path that was all his own.
Adams - who gave up a ski scholarship for a walk-on opportunity with CU's football team - was nominated in December for The Rudy Award.
He's also up for the Pappy Walfdorf Award for the best walk-on, which will be decided later in January.
Although Adams wasn't a finalist for The Rudy Award, the nomination fits him. The award honors the Division I football player "who demonstrates exemplary character, courage, contribution and commitment as members of their team," according to The Rudy Awards mission statement.
Although Adams primarily played special teams and scout team, his contribution to the Buffs wasn't lost on coach Dan Hawkins.
"Joel was the consummate team player," Hawkins said in an e-mail. "He did whatever we asked him to do - not only on special teams, but on the scout teams. And he accepted every assignment with enthusiasm, never complained, and played through injuries. He did all that knowing he was likely to only appear in games on special teams, but you embrace a player like Joel who knows what his role is and contributes to the max."
Adams, who is in town until Saturday, said he has never regretted his decision to give up his scholarship and skiing to join the football team. Adams said the relationships he has formed the past four years will be with him for the rest of his life.
"You find out a lot about people on the football field," Adams said. "You find out what kind of character they have and how hard they work. I got a great group of friends I'll be in touch with the rest of my life."
Adams graduated in December from Colorado with a degree in international business. He plans to move to Chicago, where he'll work for Tradelink doing commodity trading. Adams has been pursuing a job in commodity trading for a while, and he said his time as a walk-on helped with the process.
"It was cool because a lot of people didn't stick (football) out like I did," Adams said. "I got a lot of respect from coach Hawk, and it ended up paying off. It was just such a great experience. : The reason I like commodity trading is because it's so competitive. It's competitive everyday. I didn't want to get into a job where I just waited for the clock to strike five."
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