Houston-native and two-time All-Conference defensive lineman Micah Adickes arrived at Tufts for the start of his senior year on August 18. Preseason football practice was beginning soon and he was excited about the upcoming season.
A week later, Hurricane Harvey blew through his home city and left a trail of destruction. According to reports, at its peak on September 1, one-third of Houston was underwater. Flooding forced 50,000 people out of their homes and into shelters. The death toll grew to more than 50 Houston residents.
Adickes was in constant contact with family and friends in Houston. Though his family was not affected, they know many people who were.
"I was well aware that the city was not only under water, but in a lot of trouble," he said. "My mom and my dad were telling me that it was like a crazy, post-Apocalyptic scene there. I know a lot of people who have to completely redo their homes."
Adickes is a man of faith and has kept his hometown in his prayers as the 2017 Tufts football season started. His team at Tufts is helping the cause, organizing donations of t-shirts and footwear as part of a nationwide collection coordinated by University of Houston basketball coach Kevin Sampson.
|Micah Adickes and the Tufts defense are second in NESCAC with 15 sacks|
Though Adickes has roots in Houston, where he has lived for 10 years now, he was born in Reston, Virginia and moved around the country while his father Mark trained to become an orthopedic surgeon. The family made stops in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, and Arizona before settling in Houston.
Before becoming a doctor, Mark Adickes played six seasons in the National Football League with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Washington Redskins. An All-American at Baylor University, he won a Super Bowl with the Redskins in 1992.
With football in his genes - and at his mother Jackie's urging – Micah began playing the sport in fourth grade. He started on the offensive line as a freshman at Second Baptist School in Houston and knew right away that he wanted to play collegiately. A family friend had gone to Middlebury College in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), introducing Micah to the opportunity that he could continue to play while focusing on academics.
At the time he was being recruited, Tufts Football was in the midst of a long losing streak. The Jumbos lost 31 games in a row from the 2010 season through 2013, but this did not deter Adickes. He saw something special at Tufts and wanted to be a part of the football program's turn-around.
"It was definitely a leap of faith," Adickes said. "I was extremely interested once I met Coach Civetti and the whole staff. I liked them. I liked Boston. It's really well known academically. I liked the campus a lot. It just made the most sense."
Three years later, Adickes and his fellow seniors have become one of the winningest classes in Jumbo football history. The losing streak ended in the first game of their freshman season at home against Hamilton College (24-17). They enter Saturday's game against Trinity with a 20-8 record in their Tufts football careers. They won't take any credit for it though.
"Even though the record wasn't good, so much work was done before we got here," Adickes said. "We were 4-4 our freshman year. The seniors that year, the people in front of us, the coaches, they all set the precedent for what we wanted to do. Set the attitude. We just totally bought into that and it's worked out well so far. We continue to be better each year."
Adickes and classmates Doug Harrison and Zach Thomas have been a key component to the team's success on the defensive line. All three have received NESCAC All-Conference honors during their careers. Adickes, a three-year starter, earned All-Conference accolades in his sophomore and junior seasons (2015-16). He had a sack in his first collegiate start at Hamilton in 2015. With three sacks this year, he has 13 overall in a career that has taken off since sophomore year.
"Once you get your feet wet in college football, a year in the weight room, it means the world," he said. "Freshman year it was such a different game. It was much faster. It's such a learning curve as a freshman. When you come in sophomore year, your eyes, your ears, are much clearer. You have that base level of understanding. I wasn't thinking about what I needed to do, I was just able to just play."
A self-described "nice guy off the field who's not that way on the field," Adickes' ferocious play is also belied by the fact that he is a drama major. He started by participating in a seventh-grade musical and did it throughout high school. As a senior at Second Baptist School, he played Don Lockwood in "Singing in the Rain," the lead role which featured Gene Kelly in the original. Though football and drama don't naturally fit together, Adickes sees a similarity.
"It's kind of like football where you put in all this work behind the scenes and then you get out there and you perform," he said. "It's a lot of work, but you get a nice, concrete taste of success at the end. It's worth the while."
Adickes isn't sure if he wants to take his drama degree and head to Hollywood after graduating next May. That's in the distance anyway. He's in no rush to leave. Academically he's learned more at Tufts than he ever imagined he could. On the football field he's played a lot, helped the team usher in a new era, and made connections that will last a lifetime.
"I've been very reflective about it being my last year," he said. "Our (football) community is a huge group of people that I'm so comfortable with, so trusting. It's 80 guys that walk around this campus that I'm able to have that with."
Written by Paul Sweeney, Director of Athletic Communications