College Coach on Packers S Kitan Oladapo: ‘Appetite’ for Physicality

Blue Adams gave his seal of approval on Kitan Oladapo to Packers special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, whom Adams played under for two NFL seasons.
Kitan Oladapo
Kitan Oladapo / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – What kind of person did the Green Bay Packers add in the fifth round of the NFL Draft with former Oregon State star Kitan Oladapo?

“He’s a horrible kid,” Blue Adams told Packer Central with a laugh. “No, no, I’m just joking.”

Adams was the secondary coach at Oregon State from 2019 through 2023 before taking the same job at Michigan State. Oladapo arrived at Oregon State as a walk-on in 2018. He played in one game in 2019 and made his first career start in 2020 before emerging as a three-year starter.

“I had the fortune of being with Kitan as a freshman,” Adams said. “You want to talk about a guy that is willing to go through the process, a guy that understands what it takes in terms of reaching his dreams and aspirations. That’s that kind of guy the Packers are getting.

“In terms of a man, he’s a very respectful, family-oriented guy. Hard worker. He’s diligent. He understands the importance of education. So, in terms of just a young man, man, he’s outstanding. I can’t speak enough about him from that standpoint. He’s somewhat of a renaissance dude. He doesn’t shy away from that kind of spotlight in terms of raising awareness for things that he feels are important that should have some light shed on it. So, I had the luxury of being with him as he grew as a young walk-on into a really, really impactful player for us in the Pac-12.”

Impactful, indeed. During his three seasons as a full-time starter, Oladapo was honorable mention all-conference in 2021 with one interception and 10 passes defensed, honorable mention again in 2022 with zero interceptions and six passes defensed, and a second-team choice in 2023, when he led the team with two interceptions and 10 passes defensed.

How did a 39-game starter in a major conference and future NFL draft pick go unrecruited coming out of Happy Valley, Ore.?

“I thought he was a late bloomer,” Adams said. “He was always talented. May not have always been focused, but he was always talented. He had an opportunity to go to Oregon as a walk-on or come to Oregon State and he chose Oregon State. He enjoyed his time on campus as a young dude, as a walk-on, and I think that held him up a year of kind of getting focused and taking his journey seriously.”

With focus came impact. During his three years as a starter, Oladapo had three picks, 26 passes defensed, 4.5 sacks, 13 tackles for losses and 222 tackles. That’s a lot of all-around production.

“Most of the time for me as a coach, I’m so involved in the day to day and I can’t really look at the end result, so to speak. Now I can because he’s done,” Adams said. “Just seeing what he was able to do for us, I think it’s remarkable.

“I spend so many times week in and week out harping on the fact that you missed the tackle, you missed that read, you didn’t get that look. Those type of things where you don’t really understand or really appreciate what this young man is doing on a week-in and week-out basis. Now I get an opportunity to look back. I spoke to him a little while ago and just let him know. I had on my Instagram a highlight reel of what he’s done that someone put together. Man, I’m going to miss him.”

Adams thought Oladapo should have been drafted earlier than the fifth round. However, he thought that might be a blessing.

“Fifth round, that will continue to give him that motivation, that grind, give him that edge,” Adams said. “From that standpoint, you never want a guy to lose his edge, especially a guy that has so much potential. So, I think that’s going to help. I just know he’s going to come in with his hair on fire and play with that chip because he was taken fifth, if that makes sense.”

Adams knows what it takes to get to the NFL. He was a seventh-round pick by the Detroit Lions in 2003. He played four NFL seasons, including for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2005 and 2006. Packers special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia led the Bucs’ special teams during those seasons.

As is the case for most rookies, in general, and late-round picks, in particular, the path to playing time will start on special teams. Oladapo’s skill-set should make him a hit in that regard.

“He’s a big man that can move,” Adams said of Oladapo. “You are talking about a guy that can change direction and that can accelerate and has good speed. He has an appetite for the physical demands of the game. He is all about that. So, I think that is going to help him on (special) teams.

“Now, what also is going to help him is Rich Bisaccia. Rich reached out to me and, basically, he wants to know if he’s that kind of guy, if he’s Rich’s kind of guy, in which case he is. I know Rich is going to get the best out of him in terms of special teams because that’s where he has to live. That’s what I’ve always harped to him. I was never a starter in the National Football League. I made my career out of teams, which the foundation of that was put down by Rich.”

Adams maximized his physical tools to not just make it to the NFL but stick in the NFL. Why will Oladapo do the same?

“The thing that he has on his side is the fact that he’s a gritty player,” Adams said. “He understands the importance of special teams. He’s going to do anything and everything to stay. This has been his dream, and he’s made every decision in order to get that dream to this point. With that edge that he has, the fact that he’s worked and he’s kind of seen this coming, the importance of special teams and the importance from that aspect that Rich is going to give him, I think those are going to be some of the keys to his success.

“And then at some point he would get an opportunity to play defense, in which case he would display his talents, as well. But I see this as a journey for him. He’s going to continue to learn and get better on a day-in, day-out basis. The thing that I look forward to is just his hard work, commitment and dedication to do so.”

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College coaches: Edgerrin Cooper | Javon Bullard | MarShawn Lloyd | Ty’Ron Hopper | Evan Williams | Jacob Monk | Kitan Oladapo | Michael Pratt | Kalen King (coming)


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Bill Huber

BILL HUBER

Bill Huber, who has covered the Green Bay Packers since 2008, is the publisher of Packer Central, a Sports Illustrated channel. E-mail: packwriter2002@yahoo.com History: Huber took over Packer Central in August 2019. Twitter: https://twitter.com/BillHuberNFL Background: Huber graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he played on the football team, in 1995. He worked in newspapers in Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells and Shawano before working at The Green Bay News-Chronicle and Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1998 through 2008. With The News-Chronicle, he won several awards for his commentaries and page design. In 2008, he took over as editor of Packer Report Magazine, which was founded by Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke, and PackerReport.com. In 2019, he took over the new Sports Illustrated site Packer Central, which he has grown into one of the largest sites in the Sports Illustrated Media Group.