Do 49ers have eyes for DE Adeyanyu?

The 49ers are on the lookout for defensive prospects who can fit into their 3-4 system such as Indiana senior Victor Adeyanju, rated as one of top 10 defensive ends available in this year's draft. The Niners had a formal interview with Adeyanju at the NFL Combine in February and are anxious to see where they might be able to select him in April. Here's more information on the 6-foot-4, 275-pounder and why he's a hot prospect the 49ers - not to mention other NFL teams - are considering.

As a freshman, Adeyanju came into the Indiana program carrying just 215 pounds on his 6-foot-4 frame. As he worked tenaciously in the weight room, he bulked up over the years to an impressive 275 pounds and became a force to be reckoned with at the left end position.

In 2005, Adeyanju had his best season with the Hoosiers, recording 6.5 sacks to finish his collegiate career with 13.5. Using his athleticism and a quick initial burst, the Hoosier defensive end had to increasingly learn how to beat double-teams - a skill that will come in handy at the pro level.

But something else that is sure to impress pro scouts is his durability at a very violent position where legs and arms get tangled and twisted throughout each game. Adeyanju started 43 consecutive games for Indiana, and in addition to his 13.5 sacks, he completed his career at Indiana with 151 tackles (107 solo), 31 stops for losses, and five forced fumbles. Adeyanju played in the Senior Bowl and appears to be a first-day pick in the April draft.

Adeyanju talked with's Ed Thompson about his Combine experience, his background and his football career.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your childhood because I know you have a unique background. From what I understand you were born in the United States, but moved to Nigeria.

I was originally born in Chicago. In order for our parents to provide us with better living arrangements, they moved us in with our grandparents in Nigeria for about for four years. After that, they moved us back to America on the east side of Chicago.

Q: You didn't have an easy childhood in terms of your family's financial situation, did you?

No sir. When we came back from Nigeria, we were living pretty much in the slums of Chicago – one bedroom, two bedroom apartments, really rough neighborhood. But my dad continued to save money so he could move us into a little better place, which was a house. It was very tough, even just being in Nigeria, being away from your parents. But at the same time, we knew our father was working, he was going to bring us back when things were ready.

Q: I would imagine that by going through that experience you have a very close family.

Definitely, definitely. Our father makes us realize that even if you have all the money in the world it doesn't bring you happiness. Being close to your family, being a good person, walking the right path, brings more happiness to his eyes than anything else. He lets us know how hard life is, how hard he works, how hard we shall struggle, how hard we should fight to be successful.

Q: How many brothers and sisters do you have, and where are you in that order?

I have four brothers and one sister -- two older brothers, two younger brothers and one sister. So I'm somewhere in the middle.

Q: You seem like truly a nice person. Football is a very aggressive game. Where do you find that aggression out on the football field?

(Laughs). We're all human. Everybody gets mad. The reason why I'm so nice outside of football is because I take out my aggression out on the football field. Some things really tick me off. I usually don't talk about them, but when you're on the football field, I just bring that energy out, that meanness and just put it all on the field. That's pretty much where I channel all my energy.

Q: I know you had 6.5 sacks last year. To what do you attribute that success?

Just growing more and more, and learning my strengths. My last coach taught me some of my strengths. He really liked my bull rush. He really liked my power moves. I was able to use that a lot more this year. And it's just being a hard worker. In the weight room, when you think about the previous year, when you couldn't push your guy, when you couldn't run fast enough, you take that into consideration when you're lifting weights and running.

Q: What are the strengths you think you would bring to an NFL team?

Quickness and speed, also the size I have. I'm able to attack the line, as well as attack the pass consistently. I also know my arms and just the speed I have allow me to shed defenders off quickly, getting me to the quarterback.

In Part II of this interview, Adeyanju talks about his Combine experience and the versatility he possesses that could be a big draw for the 49ers on draft day.

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