Nine-year-old Luke Adams’ current favorite Chicago Bears player is Pro Bowl wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Catching the football is not Hinsdale resident’s strength, however.
“I’m the best at passing,” Adams said. “I want to be a quarterback. I can throw a lot of Hail Marys.”
Adams is one of 40 finalists from across the country that will be competing in the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick national finals Saturday at Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Adams qualified through regional competition in the age 8-9 division and will represent the Chicago Bears.
Boys and girls in five age divisions will compete, with the top finisher in each four-person group named national champion. All participants will boot two punts, throw two passes and blast two kickoffs, with scores based on distance and accuracy.
Among the finalists in the 8-9 age group, he has the highest score in passing with 93 feet, 1 inch. He enters Sunday’s event with a score of 245-5, third among the four competitors.
“It’s really fun, but I’m nervous,” Adams said. “It’s pretty tough with everyone there and I want to win it all.”
An award presentation featuring the winners will air following the third quarter of Sunday’s AFC Divisional Playoff game between the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers, which kicks off locally at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on CBS. Adams is looking forward to attending the game in Denver and watching Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
Adams is a already a veteran of the national competition and will be participating in his third finals. He competed in Atlanta when he was 6 and placed fourth before being crowned national champion two years ago in Baltimore, earning an appearance on CBS.
“It was awesome winning it,” Adams said. “I got to go to a Ravens game and I got my name announced and was on TV. It was fun.”
Adams’ reward for winning the championship was a visit from Chicago Bears Chairman of the Board George McCaskey to Madison Elementary School.
“I’m a huge Bears fan,” Adams said. “It was cool to meet him.”
Adams gets up early every morning to practice before school with his father at Westmont Yard Indoor Sports Complex.
“It’s exciting for him,” said Dan Adams, who will be traveling with his son to the competition. “He really enjoys it and tries hard. He’s been playing sports since he was 3 or 4. He always loved having a ball on his foot or in his hands. He’s blessed with good size and has his mom’s great hand-eye coordination.
“It’s a wonderful joy and sense of pride and accomplishment to see him have that success. He takes it all in stride and is a good kid.”
Adams plays youth soccer and baseball and has been playing flag football for four years. He plans to get his first taste of tackle football this fall with the Hinsdale Falcons.
The multi-talented youngster also competes in state chess tournaments and plays the piano.