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Von Miller Who? Victor Aiyewa Is the Linebacker People Should Pay Attention To

If you haven’t heard of Victor Aiyewa, the man is truly a story. I had a chance to talk to Aiyewa and he is a great person to talk to. Aiyewa played safety and linebacker at the University of Washington, where he played hard for the Huskies. Aiyewa will be heading to the NFL this year and is looking to make some impact at the linebacker position.

Aiyewa ranks as one of the top players among all outside-linebackers, according to many draft experts. However, Aiyewa never wanted to be a football player until his junior year in high school. Aiyewa said that he always have wanted to be a basketball player.

“In my junior year of high school, I got recruited suggested by the basketball coach to go play football,” the senior linebacker said. “They wanted a big, athletic body. I went on the football team, and that’s where I excelled.”

Aiyewa has played football before, however. Aiyewa recalls playing in little leagues, in middle school. He never got the chance in high school all that much since he moved a lot during the time. Aiyewa finally got his chance after being recruited.

“I thought I was going to be a basketball player. I thought I was going to grow to 6’4′,” Aiyewa said. “But that didn’t happen.”

http://grfx.cstv.com/schools/wash/graphics/auto/victor-aiyewa-0407.jpgIt didn’t, but Aiyewa grew to be 6’1″, just enough to be an ideal size for a linebacker, and a football player. But Aiyewa enjoyed the process from basketball back to football.

Before Aiyewa went to Washington, he played at several high schools, as he said. GoHuskies.com reports that Aiyewa helped lead his Hurricanes to a 9-4 record. He excelled over there. What Aiyewa misses most is competing.

“I just loved the thrill of competing and just trying to get to the next level,” Aiyewa says.

Aiyewa would go on to play for Washington, as he loved the rich tradition with the Huskies and their football program. Washington helped Victor with the recruiting process and had impact on what they said to his mother. After that, she wanted him to head to Washington after that.

Aiyewa contributed a lot in his first three years, but finally became a starter last year after making a switch from safety to linebacker. Many would think it would be hard for Aiyewa to make this position switch, however, Victor recalled as being rather easy than many would have expected.

“You don’t have to be in much space as much as safety. I felt more comfortable covering tight ends as they were not as fast a wide receivers. The only trouble I had was dealing with the O-Line but as the season went on, I learned to deal with O-Lineman,” Aiyewa said.

He was usually a big safety, Aiyewa recalls, and gaining the weight for him was pretty easy. He was 219 pounds last time people have checked him, but Victor tells me that he gained some weight for his position, now at 230 pounds.

“I made that transition quite smooth, so it just worked out for the best, man, and I am just excited for it for the rest of my career.”

The transition did go smooth for Victor, as he went on to have 83 tackles and five sacks in his Senior year. Many scouts should hopefully be impressed with this after making this rather hard transition so easy and smooth.

“They should be. If they know talent, they should be impressed at what I have done,” Aiyewa said. “Like I said, I have not reached my full potential.”

He hasn’t. Aiyewa had gone through some injuries in his Senior year, which forced him to miss some time. Aiyewa would do everything for what the coaches want. He is willing to do special teams, coming off the bench, and especially starting. Aiyewa has shown he can be a great special teams player if you have seen what he has done on kickoffs, which you can see at the end of this article of his highlight film.

http://media.scout.com/Media/Image/72/722853m.jpgAiyewa has shown he is that hard-hitting linebacker many scouts would want. Aiyewa has a pretty good resume under his belt at Washington. He helped lead the Huskies’ defense along with several others to a Holiday Bowl victory.

“Oh man, that was a great feat for us to accomplish. The Holiday Bowl, you know, it’s a feeling that your hardwork eventually comes together,” Aiyewa said. “Winning the Holiday Bowl is a feeling I never felt before. It’s gonna go down in memory, it’s gonna go down in history for me. It was a great experience and it changed my life.”

There, Aiyewa also had help from the other side of the ball on Washington, playing with a quarterback like Jake Locker.

“Playing with Jake everyday felt like a game. Everyday, every practice, it felt like a gameday-experience. Our coaches wanted us to treat it like a game-like experience. Playing with Jake helped you get ready for other quarterbacks that you will face,” Aiyewa said. “With that, he helped get ready for the games on Saturday.”

Seeing how great Aiyewa did in his Senior year, Victor points out it’s not all of what he has shown. It’s just a little glimpse of what we have seen of him in his Senior year, due to the fact that he did have some injuries.

“I can’t find the best way to explain it, but I got a lot more things to do which can help be go down as the greatest of all-time, I believe,” Aiyewa says.

And I wouldn’t be surprised. I believe Aiyewa can really find some success in the NFL.

As a Colts fan, I think Aiyewa could fit the team nicely. The Colts got Gary Brackett and Clint Session at two linebacker spots filled but only linebacker spot left is the weak-side starting outside linebacker spot. There are unproven guys there, and I think Aiyewa could fit there. I think he could start.

http://c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000JB2w6TWjCVM/t/170/I0000JB2w6TWjCVM.jpg“I think I can play for any team,” Aiyewa said.

And he can. Other teams like the Philadelphia Eagles are in need of a linebacker like Aiyewa. A team like the Baltimore Ravens involves great linebackers, too. It was also a team Victor grew up watching.

“I grew up watching the Baltimore Ravens,” Aiyewa said. “Their defense, man, their defense was just so good.”

Aiyewa loved the physical play of them, kind of like how he does it back in Washington, and seeing how Ray Lewis played, too. Victor also grew up idolizing players like Bob Sanders, Ed Reed, and Troy Polamalu to help his game, all who are known to be some heavy-hitters and impact players in the game. Aiyewa can be like that.

Aiyewa wouldn’t compare himself to much of the linebackers in the NFL. He brings a different taste to the linebacker position, and as a hybrid, he could definitely have some advantages like speed and covering receivers that many linebackers have trouble with.

What could Victor do in the NFL?

Asked of what he wants to accomplish, “Well, for my first few years, I want to establish myself as a playmaker. Right now, I just wanna learn the game and be the best that there can be.”

Aiyewa’s mind is always with football. Before a game, he studies his team and looks at film in the hotel room to prepare. And then, like every football player, chill on the bus with music, hang with friends, on to the stadium for the game. But Aiyewa looks like that focused player and the player you want in the coaches’ room. A player that will be focused fully. Definitely a character a coach would like.

Players that helped Victor were guys like Mason Foster and Jake Locker, people who helped his game and become a better player. They were also people he was close to. Foster helped take the time and help Aiyewa with his game.

You can also tell why Aiyewa would be a good fit for your team after he has been mentioned to accolades like the All-Pac-10 team and All-Academic team.

“Oh man, that is a pretty great accomplishment,” Aiyewa said.

Aiyewa recalls having not-so-good grades in high school, and in college, he did not want to be part of the lower-percentile. He put his focus for good grades, in which he earned.

http://c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000bFWfBAkKBK0/t/170/I0000bFWfBAkKBK0.jpgAs draft day comes by, Aiyewa looks to keep it nice, calm, and chill. He won’t want it to be big and make it paranoid. Aiyewa looks to just be on a boat somewhere and just relax and let everything play through, much like what Cleveland Browns’ tackle Joe Thomas did and like many other players entering the draft.

Aiyewa looks to accomplish a lot for his rookie season.

“My goal for my rookie season is come in and learn what the coaches want me to learn,” Aiyewa says. “I am also trying to find my fit. I can play on special teams because I am a great special teams player. I want to do as much as I can in my rookie year.”

Many positive things have been said about Victor’s Pro Day. An article was written about Washington players at their pro day and some good things were said about all the players. Many of the folks in the comments loved how Aiyewa played and looks like a great player in the NFL.

“I think my Pro Day was good and I hope the scouts now what kind of player I am,” Aiyewa said.

Aiyewa did exceptional in the bench press, getting 30 reps, which is what you want in a linebacker. It’s actually great if you ask me for a linebacker.

I had a great time talking to Aiyewa and I really expect this man to have a lot of success coming into the National Football League. As a Colts fan, I hope they take a look at him. After the interview, we talked for a little a bit about the Colts’ linebackers and Victor says he would love to try out with the Colts and be on their team if he got the chance.

http://rsirving.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/holidaybowl.jpg?w=296&h=331I think he would fit great with the team and I can easily see him starting with them if he does well enough in training camp, which I wouldn’t surprised.

But we’ll save that for later as the draft comes up in close to a week. We’ll see where Victor ends up on draft day.

The hype on linebackers be all over guys like Von Miller and Robert Quinn. Yes, they are great. But Aiyewa is too, and he is the linebacker people should be paying attention when it is all said and done.

“I wanna show the world who Victor Aiyewa is and show that hard work pays off.”

I think he will.

Watch the video here.

I really appreciate the time for Victor Aiyewa to do this interview to him and I wish him the best of luck to his football career. I’d also like to thank Mike of Synergy Sports International for this interview opportunity. I’d also like to thank Andy Benoit and Dean Holden of NFLtouchdown.com for giving me a chance to contact Mike for the possible interview to happen.

Please, if you can, be sure to follow Victor on Twitter for more updates about him.


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