Drama on the Gridiron

Senior defensive lineman Micah Adickes is a theater major, but he’s all business on the football field

Micah Adickes playing football at Bates

Football is in Micah Adickes’ genes. After all, his father was an All-American at Baylor University who went on to play six seasons in the National Football League, nabbing a Super Bowl ring with the Redskins in 1992.

So it was no surprise that Adickes, A18, a Jumbo two-time All-Conference defensive lineman, began playing the sport in fourth grade. As a high school freshman, he started on the offensive line at Second Baptist School in Houston, and soon decided he wanted to play at the collegiate level. A family friend had gone to Middlebury College, in the same New England Small College Athletic Conference as Tufts, and he was intrigued.

At the time he was looking at colleges, the Jumbo football team was in the midst of a long losing streak. They lost 31 games in a row from the 2010 season through 2013, but Adickes wasn’t deterred—he wanted to be a part of the football program’s turnaround.

“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. Tufts is 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 against Hamilton College. They enter this week with a 19-8 record in their Tufts football careers. Adickes isn’t bragging about the accomplishment though—quite the opposite.

“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, E18, and Zach Thomas, A18, 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. He had a sack in his first collegiate start at Hamilton in 2015. With three sacks already 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, and a year in the weight room, it means the world,” he said. “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 performed throughout high school. As a senior, he played the lead in Singin’ in the Rain, the role Gene Kelly made famous in the 1952 movie.

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 in 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, he said. 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.

He’s brought his sense of community to Tufts, too. When his hometown of Houston was slammed by Hurricane Harvey, he helped the team organize donations of T-shirts and footwear as part of a nationwide collection coordinated by University of Houston basketball coach Kevin Sampson.

“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.”

Sports Information Director Paul Sweeney can be reached at paul.sweeney@tufts.edu.

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