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The Mystery of the Adam Muema Saga

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By Chris Mahr

How and why did former San Diego State running back Adam Muema go from an enticing NFL draft prospect to a subject of utter bafflement?

“He was talking for the longest time about how excited he was for the draft,” said Stefanie Loh, who covers Aztec football for U-T San Diego. “We had conversations in late December and early January about how excited he was to show scouts what he could do.”

While Muema’s decision to forego his senior season and enter the draft was met with a lot of surprise in the San Diego State community, he had reason to be excited. A onetime lightly recruited three-star Rivals prospect, Muema rushed for 31 TDs and over 2,700 yards during the past two seasons, establishing himself as perhaps the best running back in the Mountain West Conference.

The timeline of what happened to Muema next has been hashed out plenty by this point. He unexpectedly left the NFL combine in February because God allegedly told him the Seahawks would draft him if he did so (his Twitter bio still reads “Seahawks #8), shortly after which he spent three days living in an airport before apparently giving up football. Muema also made headlines by implying the Apocalypse would prevent the 2014-15 NFL season from happening.

“He’s always been a spiritual kid, a religious guy,” Loh said of Muema. “It took on new fervor probably after the bowl game [Muema earned MVP honors in a Humanitarian Bowl win over Buffalo]. Then he started being active on Twitter with Bible verses.”

Muema also started championing a figure named “Lord RayEl,” who claims to be the second coming of Christ. Born Raymond Elwood and with a reportedly sordid history, RayEl declared himself the messiah three years ago and and is very active on social media.

While Muema was always quiet and media-shy at San Diego State, nothing about his college career portended this bizarre about-face. Loh believes that while training in Florida for the NFL combine, Muema might have met someone who started pushing him toward “Lord RayEl.”

“He was telling me the things God was telling him, how close he feels to God, and how he’s at peace with everything going on in his life and how God is speaking to him,” former Oklahoma defensive back Corey Nelson told U-T San Diego in February. “He really hears from God. Whatever God tells him, he’ll do it.”

For two months, Nelson trained with Muema at the same Florida workout facility and lived in a neighboring condo, and the two bonded in large part over their shared spirituality. It was Nelson who picked Muema up after he spent three days at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport following his early exit from the combine, and it was Nelson who lent an empathetic ear to Muema’s ordeal.

Yet even Nelson had his doubts, telling U-T San Diego that he and Muema had “agreed to disagree” on the latter’s argument that “Lord RayEl” is the Messiah.

Since that interview, Nelson has been advised by his agent to refrain from speaking about Muema. He’s not the only person in Muema’s life to adopt such a stance. San Diego State’s coaching staff and sports information office all politely declined to comment. So to did Muema’s former agent, Rob London, and his high school coach, Lou Farrar.

Which isn’t to say that Muema has fallen completely off the map. Now back in Southern California, he’s still very active on both Twitter (@So_Lucrative) - where he now goes by the name “Adam Huntsman” - and Instagram (@amog4). Many of his posts are perfectly normal and cheerful, like attending the music festival Coachella or attending a San Diego Padres game; some even hint at the fact that football is still a big part of his life and that he still harbors NFL aspirations.

Then there are other posts of the overtly religious variety that have become a staple of Muema’s social media profiles since the new year - including continued mentions of “Lord RayEl.”

Two months after his unexpected transformation from unheralded NFL running back prospect to football sideshow, Adam Muema remains a mystery. A talented player who purports that he has left his football-playing future - and his future in general - in the hands of a higher power.

All while leaving us all curious and confused as to what he will do next.

Top Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports

 
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