Already a star player, Kwame Adjei is expected to only get better as he continues to play for the Mount Allison football Mounties.
With his chin strap fastened and with his ears pinned back, Kwame Adjei is ready for war with the ,blast of the opening whistle and for the next 60 minutes he plays a game that eliminates the taking of any prisoners.
Even though he is a devout practicing Christian Kwame sees no need to turn the other cheek when the pride of his team is on the line and he stakes out his claim as free safety for the Mounties, and nobody had better dare to intrude or else they will pay the consequences.
As if to reinforce this dedication to football, coach Kelly Jeffrey says, "Kwame has shown great instincts and continues to get better.
“This season his big hits in the secondary forced opposing quarterbacks to think twice before throwing over the middle.
“He is a team captain and has shown great leadership in just his third season with us. He has a very bright future at Mount Allison and beyond."
And defensive coordinator Scott Brady is even more compelling in his summary of the intense play by his all-star.
"Kwame is an extremely aggressive and violent player and sets the tone for our entire defense with his style of play,” he explained. “He makes impact plays in every single game and relentlessly attacks the football.
“He has worked hard to improve his technique and better understand the game. Through his hard work he has become one of our smartest players and understands our scheme and opposing offenses very well and is able to make adjustments quickly. His communication with teammates on the field is excellent.
"On the field he is a leader in every way and has bought in to everything we have asked him to do and he works hard every single day to improve as a student, athlete and as a person.
“He has developed into a tremendous person and leader in our program and it is all due to his hard work."
With his "game sense”, speed and power, the Brampton, Ontario, native can do it all. As a blitzer from the safety spot he is relentless and his bone crushing tackles can often be heard in the stands. During the past campaign he had a quarterback sack, an interception and 45 tackles to add to his resume.
And part of his improvement may be due to his adjustment since his rookie season in Sackville.
"I really felt uncomfortable in a small town after having lived in Brampton all my life," he told your columnist during a brief discussion. "It was such a change in culture and all I wanted to do was go home. But now that I’m used to it, Sackville is my new home as I find the people so friendly, nice and supportive."
The 6'1", 205 pound defensive star was rewarded twice by those who recognized his level of play during the past season. He first was selected to the All-Conference team and more recently was selected as the outstanding safety in the land by accepting an All-Canadian certificate from the CIS.
Asked his reaction to such honours, Kwame just smiled and said that while it was nice he would gladly have exchanged it all for a Uteck Bowl victory and a trip to the Vanier.
Born to parents who came to Canada from Ghana, Kwame was born in Ontario.
Kwame attended the Roman Catholic Marguerite d'Youville High School in Brampton where he starred with his school's football team. During his final year he was wooed by such universities as Western, Laurier and Saskatchewan but chose Mount Allison after coach-recruiter Gaetan Richard paid a visit to his home.
"Mount Allison, for some reason, just seemed to be the right fit," he said. "Here I am receiving an excellent education and every Saturday during September and October I get to pull on the gear and go out on the field and have fun. What more could a person ask?"
Enrolled in the third year arts program Kwame says he isn't sure what the future will hold for him but he does know that he would like to help people in some form or other. He thinks he may wind up in guidance. While professional football may be an option he says that isn't necessarily his first choice.
It is interesting that no fewer than three former Mounties who have played free safety have earned All Canadian honours so it seems a spot where the right players can shine and be recognized. The list includes Phil Girard, Callan Exeter and Chris Begley and so Kwame joins some select company.
Kwame says there is no magic formula to explain how the Mounties turned their season around 360 degrees after losing four of their first five games and then winning three to earn second place in the Atlantic Conference before knocking off the two teams – the Acadia Axemen and St. Mary's Huskies, who have shared championships regularly – to run their skein to five before falling to Laval in the national semi-final game.
"It was a case of all the players keeping the faith - they never stopped believing - and it was matter of work, work and more work and practice until we got it right."
He agrees that the strong defensive dozen was responsible for keeping games within reach until the offense got its act together and he credits quarterback Brendan Leyh for much of the late success. Leyh made a great comeback after sitting out one game with an injury and sitting out a half after displaying some unsuccessful efforts.
With at least 11 players returning to play defense next season Kwame can see only more success for the Mountie program. He says with people like tackles Jacob Leblanc and Quinn Everett, linebacker Te Nguyen and a solid secondary that includes two outstanding corners in Donovan Saunders and Devante Sampson, backs Michael Bohan and Matt Montgomery along with greatly underrated Dylan Cossar, the Mounties should be ready and raring to go when fall camp begins next August.
Meanwhile, he expects the coaching staff to once again find a harvest of talent, some who may even wrest a position or two away from incumbents, but with an emphasis on offense where some key pieces will be missing.
Kwame says the coaches have been great, singling out Jeffrey, who, he says, knows what he is doing, is very supportive and is the best mentor he has ever had. And he credits athletic director Pierre Arsenault with having picked up the tempo for all teams at Mount Allison.
While he has a fine relationship with all members of the team, Kwame says he seems to have bonded closer with linebacker Te Nguyen and offensive lineman Jason LeBritton as they hang out together. And he is enjoying the academic side of university life where professors are helpful and classes and relatively small.
So, Mountie football fans watch for number 28 and listen for the crunch as he lays another lick on opposing attackers – with the most difficult to bring down being Abanakwah of the St. Mary's Huskies. But Cossar seems to have his number so Kwame Adjei feels safe.