ACC coaches, players evaluate Tech’s apparel choices

Adidas has custom-shoe technology. Nike has broad appeal.

Those were among the observations made by ACC coaches and athletes at the ACC Kickoff on Thursday about the two apparel providers, who appear to be the more likely possibilities (over Under Armour) to be the next outfitter for Georgia Tech. The athletic department’s contract with Russell Athletic will expire after June 2018.

“Our kids are happy with (Nike) and they like it, so I’m good with it,” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. “Our kids love it. Kids love putting on the swoosh.”

N.C. State coach Dave Doeren, whose school re-signed with Adidas in 2015, not surprisingly is a big proponent of the brand.

“Adidas has, I would say, taken it to another level,” he said. “Their shoe game is off the charts right now. What I would say (was) a weakness when we first came over, it’s now something kids can’t wait to have.”

Doeren said that players can have their shoes custom-made with the use of a 3D scanner.

“The guys have some crazy-looking feet,” he said. “They come in with size 18’s, and they can custom fit a shoe for a guy, a flat-footed guy, a high-arch guy, all of that. It’s really, really good.”

Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander acknowledged that which shoe company schools were aligned with was “a little bit” of a factor in his selecting Louisville, as Under Armour “isn’t really my thing.” Alexander has been wearing Adidas since high school, and Louisville is an Adidas school.

“The cleats are really light, the gloves are good,” he said. “I like Adidas a whole bunch.”

N.C. State tight end Jaylen Samuels, while acknowledging he prefers Nike (“But I can’t really say that,” he said), rated Adidas as an eight out of 10 in providing gear for the Wolfpack. The company will outfit the Wolfpack in an alternate uniform for the Louisville game, he said — black jerseys and pants with silver lettering and numbers and black helmets with chrome facemasks.

“I think that’ll really catch recruits’ eyes,” he said.

Should Tech go with Adidas, it might be a more important property to the company than it would be for Nike, as Adidas provides apparel for far fewer power-conference schools than Nike. The Yellow Jackets might receive more attention with special uniforms than they might with Nike, as N.C. State has.

“It helps you in recruiting,” Doeren said. “Kids care about gear. They do.”

However, the feelings that Wake Forest players have for Nike demonstrate the pull that the brand engenders.

“We got new (Nike) cleats, and we love ’em,” Demon Deacons defensive lineman Wendell Dunn said. “All the guys love ’em. They’re very impressed with it. When it comes to athletic wear with the team. Nike’s doing a great job. We love it.”

Dunn sees recruits having the same reaction when they visit Wake Forest.

“So when kids come in and they see Nike, it’s like, ‘Yeah, this is where I want to be,’” he said.

Nike redesigned Wake Forest’s uniforms before the 2015 season, with stripes on the sleeves that take inspiration from the school’s shield and form a stylized “W.” The jersey numbers have notches that are angled at 18 and 34 degrees, as the school was founded in 1834.

Said Wake Forest tight end Cam Serigne, “I love Nike stuff. They give us everything we need, and it’s very good product.”

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