Defensive back Tony Adams signed with New York Jets as undrafted free agent


Ryan Ash

Defensive Back Tony Adams chases the opponent with the ball to make a tackle on Sept. 4 against UTSA.

By Jackson Janes, Staff Writer

Former Illinois defensive back Tony Adams has been signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent after five seasons with Illinois.

A Belleville native, Adams played 41 games with the Illini, recording 135 solo tackles, 206 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss, three sacks, six interceptions and one touchdown across his five years at Illinois.

Injuries dented his first two seasons, as he missed 11 games during his freshman and sophomore campaigns. Despite those setbacks, Adams still made nine starts at either the cornerback or safety positions, and he became the first true freshman since 2006 to start as cornerback in a season opener.

As a junior, Adams played in 10 games, recording 39 total tackles and a career-high two interceptions, one of which he returned 13 yards for a touchdown against Purdue on Oct. 26, 2019. His other interception that season set up James McCourt’s game-winning field goal as time expired in Illinois’ upset victory over No. 6 Wisconsin on Oct. 19, 2019.

During his senior year in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, Adams played and started just six games, though he set a new career-high in total tackles with 51.

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Opting to take advantage of the extra year of eligibility granted to all student-athletes, Adams returned to the Illini to play under new head coach Bret Bielema and defensive coordinator Ryan Walters in their first seasons in Champaign.

Adams played and started all 12 games in 2021, registering a career-high 47 solo tackles and 63 total tackles. He also equaled a career-best of 3.5 tackles for loss.



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