If you watched this year’s Big Ten Championship, you probably saw Jarrius Adams compete for and win the Dr Pepper Challenge at halftime. Adams is a sophomore at Ole Miss, and he won $100,000 toward his education expenses after besting his competition in Indianapolis.
I interviewed Jarrius via email earlier this week, and we took on a host of topics, including football throwing technique, his philanthropy in the state of Mississippi, the Beacon and hot dog condiments. Jarrius is majoring in Public Policy and Political Science at Ole Miss, with designs on either graduate school or law school after matriculation.
RCR: Walk me through the process of selection for the Challenge. How did you, an Ole Miss student, wind up competing at the Big Ten Championship of all places?
JA: Well anyone between the age of 18-24 can apply for the scholarship. You make a profile stating what you plan to do with your degree and you get at least 50 votes on Facebook to unlock the next phase. Then you are able to make a video that is no more than a minute long to answer the same question, "What do you plan to do to change the world?" I submitted my video and in about 2-3 weeks I received a call stating that I was a finalist!
RCR: Let's talk technique. Did you practice the chest-pass form beforehand? Did you find that way of throwing the ball to be more effective or accurate than throwing a standard spiral pass?
JA: I chose the chest pass technique primarily because this competition, to me, is based more off of speed than accuracy. We have 30 seconds which for a person who doesn't play football, is not a long time. Me and my brother worked all over the Thanksgiving break to make sure I was prepared for the competition.
RCR: What did you do with your over-sized victory check?
JA: My check is hanging on my wall over my TV. I see it everyday I wake up for motivation.
RCR: Ross Bjork gave you a shout out on Twitter after you won the Challenge. Did he personally reach out to as well? If so, what did he have to say?
JA: Absolutely! Ross Bjork is a good friend of mine. He is one of the few people that I told about this competition and he has been so supportive. He congratulated me and also told me that while he was watching me on TV, he could barely contain his excitement.
RCR: I see from your Twitter banner that you attended the 2016 Democratic National Convention. In what capacity did you go, and how was your experience there?
JA: I participated in an academic seminar at the DNC and I also Interned with CNN. It was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever come across! I met so many people, including Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, and Star Jones.
(Adams has previously spoken in support of Initiative 42 for Better Schools, which protects “every child’s right to a free and adequate public education.”)
RCR: What is your opinion of the Beacon in Oxford?
JA: I actually have never eaten at the Beacon but now I will definitely have to stop by!
RCR: Does a hot dog qualify as a sandwich? What condiments or toppings do you prefer on your hot dogs?
JA: I wouldn't consider a hot dog as a sandwich. I normally just prefer Ketchup but if it is a grilled hotdog I wouldn't mind Bar-b-q sauce instead.
RCR: What's your favorite thing to drink while tailgating in the Grove?
JA: I never get a chance to tailgate because I work in the suites during the game.
RCR: Where are you from originally, and what brought you to Ole Miss over other schools?
JA: I am from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The stars honestly aligned. We all know that Ole Miss is a special place and has its way of luring people in. It's a perfect distance from home and the programs on campus are unbeatable.
Thanks to Jarrius for his candor and taking time out of finals week to speak with us.