Set go… It's too late. You ignored all the signs and now you have a 6-foot-2, 238-pound physical force on your back. This is the exact scenario Virginia Tech outside linebacker Xavier Adibi dreams about.
"He's the ideal linebacker," Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. "He has the speed that allows to him play well in the coverage game and to chase from side to side. And Xavier can be physical, too. He'll stick his nose in there and plug in the run-stopping game. I love what I've been seeing out of Xavier Adibi."
What you've seen out of Adibi this season is a bigger, stronger player who's having his best collegiate season. Through nine games, Adibi has totaled 75 tackles, 8.5 for a loss, three sacks and an interception. Not only has Adibi been productive, he's also been a defensive leader for the Hokies as his partner in crime linebacker Vince Hall has been out of the lineup with a broken left wrist.
Adibi, who's a senior, has been a durable and reliable defender who hasn't missed a game in over three years. He brings tenacity to the field that's unmatched and a motor that never stops.
"He's been great [for us]," Hokies Head Coach Frank Beamer said of Adibi. "He's got everything it takes. He's tougher than heck, and he's nasty on the football field. He's a nice person off the field, but to be a great player, you've got to have that nasty attitude, and he's got it."
LB Xavier Adibi returns an interception
AP Photo/Don Petersen
Adibi redshirted his first season (2003) at Virginia Tech and showed promising attributes (4.5-second 40-speed and a 34 ½ inch vertical leap) as a highly touted recruit from Phoebus High School in Virginia. The following season, Adibi played in seven games and finished the year with 25 tackles, two sacks and an interception, but missed six games due to a torn tendon in his right bicep muscle. The following two seasons is when he emerged as one of the country's elite linebackers and his production increased each year.
In 2005, Adibi recorded 69 tackles, seven for a loss, three sacks, and two touchdowns. The next season, as a junior, he amassed 82 tackles, 6.5 for a loss, three sacks and three interceptions. Adibi has one career touchdown, which occurred during his sophomore season against Georgia Tech when he returned an interception 25 yards for a score.
An athletic defender who has the ability to play inside or outside linebacker, Adibi has excellent instincts and uses his speed to explode through the hole and make plays in the backfield. He has great sideline-to-sideline range and is able to track down the opposition. He has a great burst and closing speed to get around the edge to defend the run. He covers a large area, plays well in coverage and possesses excellent ball skills. He's a disciplined player that understands his assignments and doesn't get caught out of position.
The one knock on Adibi is his size. He's a bit undersized to play middle linebacker at the next level. He doesn't take the best angles in pursuit and struggles shedding blocks against a bigger opponent.
Overall, Adibi is a tremendous athlete who brings a lot of intangibles to the field. He plays with a great deal of explosion and is a great leader on defense. He'll be a standout on special teams and has a chance to be an exceptional WILL linebacker at the next level. Adibi will be a second- or third-round selection next April.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.