Whole Nine Sports

Interview with James Madison DL Adeeb Atariwa

Adeeb Atariwa
Brandon Olsen
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Addeb Atariwa is a redshirt junior at James Madison University that plays noseguard. Adeeb’s older brother is Yazeed Atariwa from the University of Toledo and a younger sister in middle school. Originally from Bronx, NY, Adeeb currently resides in northern Virginia, where he also attended high school. At James Madison, Atariwa is an Economics major with a sociology and computer information systems minor.

Adeeb Atariwa

Year: Redshirt Junior

Position: DL

Height: 6’3″

Weight: 277 lbs

High School: Dominion

Major: Economics

Career Stats

Games played: 23

Total Tackles: 35

TFLs: 3.5

Sacks: 1.5

The Interview

James Madison

What’s it like playing for an FCS powerhouse like James Madison University?

It’s amazing honestly. We get a big game every year, this year being WVU and the competition in our league is intense. As a team have high expectations every year, as we’ve been to two national championships since 2016 and won one of them. We strive to win our conference every year.

Speaking of high expectations, what are the expectations for James Madison this year? A new head coach coming off of the first season since 2014 to not be on top of the conference

We want to win it all. Win the conference, get the first round bye, and win the national championship. We take everything week-by-week though. Coach Cignetti is a great guy and all of the players and coaches have the mentality that we can be the best team in our league because we work like it

What about you personally? What are your goals heading into the 2019 season?

Last year, my pass rush wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I want to be a lot more productive there. More sacks and more TFLs. I want to increase my total production in general and make myself known

Adeeb Atariwa James Madison

What was the recruiting process like for you coming out of high school and what made you choose James Madison University?

I ended up having a total of 12 offers I believe, ranging from FBS to FCS. There were a few visits I took to schools that I was considering but none of them made me feel how I felt being at JMU. I chose James Madison because of the people, the atmosphere, the facilities, and because of how well JMU is recognized academically.

What is it that you think that really sets you apart from other defensive linemen?

My style of play is very physical, I embrace it. Our defensive line has worked drills everyday this summer whether it has been pass rush, hands, footwork, agility and even yoga so we prepare like we are the best because we strive to be the D-line that no team wants to face us and we train that way everyday. What sets me apart I would say is my determination, which I attribute from my wrestling career in high school. I’ve always hated losing so I do everything in my power to win every play and every drill.

How much do you look forward to playing the bigger name schools like West Virginia this year and NC State last year?

It’s always very exciting. Last year I had my first career start at nose guard against NC State and it’s just something I always look foreword to now. Seeing the competition between FBS and FCS and just going again some of the best players in their league allows me to self-reflect in regards to my own skill set. Our first game this season is against WVU and I am pumped and have been anticipating this game since it had been announced. I love the competition and playing in big atmospheres because I believe my team handles the pressure well as we prepare to win rather than just play.

Atariwa James Madison

Speaking to your game, that NC State game was the first game of yours I had ever watched. I remember you being the cause of a fumble that made me notice you. You guys lost to NC State but that was a much closer game than a lot of people expected. Speaking of Yazeed, in 1-on-1 drills, who wins in a best of 7 series, you or Z?

Best out of 7 between Yazeed and I, he will win 4 times and I will win 3. We both have a lot of football experience and have been playing together for years so we learn from each other. For example, Yazeed was home a few weeks ago and taught me some pass rush moves that I’ll be using this upcoming season. I personally take the drills my brother and I do as a learning experience as we come from different schools and different leagues which benefits the both of us as we work through out schemes, techniques, and thought processes that I never completely see just going against my teammates.

How much of an impact has he had on you as a player since you started playing football?

He’s always played a leading role in my development as a football player. Back in high school when he started to gain attention from universities because of football, it influenced how I wanted to be seen and what I needed to do in order for me to play at the next level. He’s always been a leader so that’s been very helpful in situations where I needed guidance in life in general. Going in to college I think I leaned on him heavily in times where I fell behind or was struggling so he’s always impacted my life in a beneficial way

Adeeb James Madison

Who’s the best player that you’ve personally gone up against in college so far?

Other than my brother, I’d say Aaron Stinnie who played for JMU but is with the Tennessee Titans.

What about an opponent? Which offensive line would you say is the best that you’ve faced?

Rhode Island’s O-line was very talented last year as well as NC state.


How do you feel about the common knock of “small-school” guys playing against worse competition?

I just don’t believe in it to be honest. As you know, we play at least one school that’s much larger than ours and I think those games are critical to study when evaluating someone’s skill set but that’s also not everything. We’ve had people excel in the NFL from James Madison every year since I’ve played there, for example Raven Green and Jimmy Moreland so I think it’s a lot more than who you play because there’s obviously great competition in every league

Alright man that’s all I’ve got for you today. Thanks for giving me your time and good luck this season.

A: Of course! Thank you.