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  1. #1
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    Adeyanju Taking Advantage of Opportunity

    Thursday, September 28, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    You don’t have to be in his immediate proximity to know when Victor Adeyanju finds something amusing. His booming laugh will do all of the work for you.

    “It’s so loud it’s ridiculous,” defensive end Leonard Little said. “You can hear it across the room. He’s just an easy going guy. During the games you have to calm him down a little bit because he has a tendency to get kind of hyped so we have to calm him down and get him in the game sometimes.”

    But it didn’t take much work to get Adeyanju involved in his first start against Arizona last week. In fact, Adeyanju’s first NFL start went so well that he has kept his name at the top of the team’s depth chart.

    “Anytime you get an opportunity or are given a chance you have to make the most of it, take that and keep moving forward,” Adeyanju said. “I am going to keep fighting for the job and help the defense any way I can.”

    Although Adeyanju received his first start as a matter of circumstance – Anthony Hargrove was inactive after missing a pair of practices last week – he showed early in the game why he was ready to earn the job on merit.

    As Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin took off on a long catch and run midway through the second quarter of Sunday’s game, it appeared he might not stop before reaching the end zone.

    Suddenly, Boldin was brought down from behind. Catching up to Boldin is hard enough for a defensive back, but this wasn’t a Travis Fisher or Tye Hill running him down in the open field. This was Adeyanju. That’s right all six feet, four inches and 270 plus pounds hustled down the field and stopped Boldin at the Rams’ 21 after a 34-yard gain.

    At the time, the play seemed somewhat insignificant, but three plays later, it proved to be a saving grace. After a pair of runs gained 8 yards, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa tipped a pass in to the waiting hands of safety Oshiomogho Atogwe for a drive-killing interception.

    “(They were) within scoring position, he stops the touchdown and then we step up and get the turnover as Victor runs down a receiver, which was a heck of a play…a rookie running down a receiver in that situation and tackles the kid,” coach Scott Linehan said.

    It was just one of a number of solid plays made by the rookie defensive end out of Indiana. In making his first NFL start in place of Hargrove, Adeyanju made enough of a first impression to get yet another chance to start this week against Detroit.

    “He played with great effort and great energy,” Linehan said. “He played the run extremely well, he was on the backside of plays getting close to the ball, he made a great second effort play in the open field on the receiver, and he didn’t play like a rookie. There was no hesitation at all.”

    Adeyanju finished his first start with seven tackles, including a tackle for loss. Stout against the run and developing as a pass rusher, Adeyanju has taken hold of the starting end job and doesn’t seem willing to let go of it without a fight.

    On Monday, Linehan announced that Adeyanju would remain the starter opposite Leonard Little and Adeyanju worked with the first unit during Wednesday’s practice.

    Perhaps Adeyanju’s early success comes as a result of his outgoing and positive attitude toward the game. Seemingly mature beyond his years, Adeyanju approaches the game like he’s been in the league for years.

    “Victor is the kind of kid who will do everything exactly the way you want it done,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. “He gives great effort all the time. He has great power. He’s just raw.”

    The fact that Adeyanju is still learning the nuances and intricacies of his position could be the scariest thing of all. Growing up in Chicago, Adeyanju played his high school football at Currie High, where he was an end and a wide receiver.

    Adeyanju has never lacked athletic skill, for he also lettered in basketball and returned kicks for the Condors. After suffering a broken right leg as a senior, recruiters backed off Adeyanju and he chose Indiana.

    There, he made an impression with his size, athleticism and wingspan. He began to pattern his game after another former Indiana star defensive end, the Bears’ Adewale Ogunleye. That pair has become fast friends and Adeyanju regularly talks to Ogunleye about making it in the NFL.

    “(He told me) You just have to find out who you are, what your strengths are, and try to make your own identity,” Adeyanju said.

    Still, Adeyanju was somewhat of a hidden gem entering this year’s NFL Draft. Not many teams had him graded as a first-rounder, but there were plenty of franchises jockeying for position to try to grab him early on the second day of the draft.

    “That one right there, that’s why you have more than one or two rounds of the draft,” Linehan said. “There’s guys you find, great players, that show up on the second day. That fourth round, the second day, you are going to see some big time players coming out in those first 15, 16 picks. Everybody is really going for the same players.”

    With Adeyanju as the target, the Rams dealt incumbent tight end starter Brandon Manumaleuna to San Diego for the 113th choice in the draft. It didn’t take long when their turn came up for the Rams to turn the card with Adeyanju’s name on it.

    “We were able to get that pick the day before and were able to get a player we really wanted and felt like if he was there on the second day we were getting a first day player,” Linehan said. “He’s playing like it. He’s a young player, but he doesn’t play like it when he is on the field. He plays with a great motor and does exactly what the coaches ask him to do which is pretty rare for a rookie.”

    For now, the humble yet boisterous Adeyanju is doing what he can to contribute in any way to the team. He was active the first two games instead of Brandon Green because of his size and run-stopping ability.

    Now that he has settled in as a starter, Adeyanju is bringing a sense of discipline with a dash of enthusiasm to the Rams’ defense. After Arizona’s Kurt Warner fumbled the ball and the game away deep in Rams’ territory, Adeyanju was so excited that he grabbed rookie cornerback Tye Hill and began shaking him wildly.

    But Hill didn’t mind, it was just a part of Victor being Victor.

    “He was going a little wild and crazy,” Hill said. “That’s good, though. I love to see that in him. That means I know he isn’t scared and I know he’s comfortable and confident in what he’s trying to get done. I like it.”

    Adeyanju has never let much bother him and the fact that he lost potential college offers because of the broken leg never deterred him.

    Now, with a starting job in the NFL and a bright future ahead of him, Adeyanju is getting the last laugh. And everyone can hear it.


  2. #2
    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: Adeyanju Taking Advantage of Opportunity

    This is Av's guy. All hail the omniscient Avenger, who theorized early on that big victor was going to be the next deacon jones. Please note that Big Victor has made more hits in three weeks than mamliamamliamula made in his entire rams career. That trade could turn out to be as one side as nolan ryan for jim fregosi and leroy stanton.

    Ramming speed to all

    general counsel
    Last edited by general counsel; -09-28-2006 at 05:13 PM.


  3. #3
    AvengerRam's Avatar
    AvengerRam is online now Moderator Emeritus
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    Re: Adeyanju Taking Advantage of Opportunity

    You know that if he makes the Pro Bowl one day there will be no living with me anymore.

  4. #4
    MSRamman's Avatar
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    Re: Adeyanju Taking Advantage of Opportunity

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    You know that if he makes the Pro Bowl one day there will be no living with me anymore.
    Then I hope you get to be intolerable, that'll mean he is kicking butt!

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    Barry Waller is offline Registered User
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    Re: Adeyanju Taking Advantage of Opportunity

    It would be really cool to see Victor become a star, because he's really a nice young man, loves to laugh, not intimidated by anything, almost happy go lucky. He kind of reminds me of Michael Strahan in some ways, but still a very young guy. He's a WHite Sox fan, which is a problem, but I can overlook that, as long as he isn't a Cubs fan.

    His dad was a cab driver in Chi town for like 30 years.
    Barry Waller

  6. #6
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    Re: Adeyanju Taking Advantage of Opportunity

    That's the kind of person you want on your team. I played with a Kenyan guy once who sounds the same kind of guy as Victor. His name was 'Big' Pete Matua and he was huge, maybe 6'6 and 270. Armed with a perpetual smile, he was a gentle giant. Until you got him on the field and p***ed him off that is and then he turned into an absolute road grader.

    You just couldn't fail to love him.

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    Barry Waller is offline Registered User
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    Re: Adeyanju Taking Advantage of Opportunity

    It's kind of funny, but neither Atogwe nor Adeyanju is anything close to African in anything other than name. Victor was born in Chicago, and lived only a very short time in Nigeria, and Atogwe is Canuck, born and bred in Winsor Ont.----
    Barry Waller

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