Xavier Adibi: Silent but Deadly
by Kenny Lucas
TSL Extra, Issue #19
Xavier Adibi is polite to a fault. Heís got a smooth voice and a thoughtful demeanor that allows for a laugh now and then. He talks about a future packed with potential, but fraught with decisions like heís discussing yesterdayís rain storm. Smooth and easy is the course. After talking with Adibi, you canít help but feel that everything will be all right.
Unfortunately for opponents of Phoebus High School, Adibi doesnít do much talking on the football field. And getting hit by the 6-3, 215-pounder is a quick ticket to the other side of all right. Itís not just that Adibi can propel himself off the line like a sprinter leaving the blocks. Not that he can bench press two normal-sized humans the way Joe Officeworker takes out the garbage. Itís more that Adibi has a thirst, a stifling need to get to the quarterback. And once heís there, the meeting is usually quick and one-sided.
"Iím pretty much a defensive guy," Adibi, who also plays fullback for Phoebus, said. "I love defense. I love the thrill of hitting somebody and seeing it in their eyes. When you get that big stick and you see them hurting a bit, thatís a big rush."
Adibi is quick to say heís not looking to really hurt anybody. But a message here and there, especially one that may particularly unsettle an opponent, is never a bad thing. Neither was the signal that Adibi sent to college coaches all over the country this past season when he racked up 18 sacks and more than 100 tackles as Phoebus roared to a 13-1 record and the Virginia Group AAA, Division 5 championship. The performance has brought him attention from nearly every big-name program in the country.
"We had goals, but we looked at them as one step at a time," Adibi says. "As for me. I just wanted to go out there and leave it all out there. I knew if I did that, my recruiting stock would go up."
Mission accomplished. Adibi was ranked the top junior prospect in the state of Virginia by Roanoke Times columnist Doug Doughty, and Phoebus coach Bill Dee says that "a bunch of" offers have already been made to rising star. Apparently right now, however, only two have caught Adibiís eye.
"Maryland and Virginia Tech," he says when asked who has offered him a scholarship. "Iíve been to Tech a lot, but I wouldnít say that theyíre a leader. Theyíre probably at the top with Maryland. Theyíre tied."
The only other school that Adibi mentions among his favorites is the University of Virginia. He would seem a perfect fit with fellow defensive studs and in-state stars Ahmad Brooks and Kai Parham, except for one thing Ė UVa has yet to offer a scholarship, as of mid-May.
"Iím looking at UVa, but they havenít offered," he says. "I donít know why, and Iím keeping them up there. I wouldnít really say it bothers me, but itís just something that sticks in the back of my mind, that they didnít offer as early as the other schools did."
Coach Dee says that heís spoken to the UVa coaching staff and a scholarship offer is imminent. "Virginia would look pretty silly not to offer," he says.
Regardless, Adibi doesnít seem too concerned. His confidence is not born of cockiness, but of the knowledge that his hard work on the field and in the classroom is now paying off. This summer, rather than trying to increase the sizzle in his recruiting Q factor, Adibi is planning to become a fixture in the Phoebus weight room and track.
"I probably wonít do any camps," Adibi says. "Iím just going to stay here and work on my strength and speed. My brother said camps were more about recognition. If I want to learn more techniques, Iíll just ask my brother."
His brother is Nathaniel Adibi, a junior defensive end at Virginia Tech, and one of the people whom Xavier says he most looks up to. Xavier says he turns to his brother for advice about issues on and off the football field. That doesnít mean, however, that Xavier is prioritizing playing with Nathaniel at Tech. "I donít really care about that (the chance to play with Nathaniel.)," he said. "I just want the chance to play. And the advice Nathaniel gave me is just be nice to everyone and let them know right then and there if youíre interested or not. He says that I should pick my top five as early as possible, so Iím trying to have my five by early summer."
Those lucky five schools will be seeking a player with a rare mix of strength, speed and athleticism. Adibi benches 350 pounds and says he recently was clocked at 4.4 in the 40. He runs track and has played basketball and used that agility to run for more than 900 yards and 21 touchdowns out of the fullback position last season. Such a unique set of skills have led some observers to list Adibi as anything from a defensive end to a bulked up safety on the college level. Adibi says he would consider any chance to play.
When asked what his favorite position is, Adibi says, "Iím not sure/ And Iíve talked to some coaches who say thatís a good answer. So Iíll just keep it open. Iíd say personally though that my strength is my explosiveness. Itís hard for any tackles to stay with me out of my stance."
Itís that explosiveness, that unquantifiable but undeniable athleticism, that Dee also mentions. "Nathaniel was a great player and he was probably bigger," Dee says. "But Xavier is a better athlete. He could play offense in college if he wanted, but heís a true defensive player."
Adibi the younger shies from comparing his skills with his brother's. But he does take a little pride in discussing their accomplishments. This season when Xavier broke Nathanielís single-season sack record at Phoebus, the first person he called afterward was his brother. "I called him on the bus and he said he couldnít believe it," Xavier Adibi said. "Then he started laughing. You know Iíve won a championship and he never got that, so I tease him about that, too."
Beneath the teasing however, Adibi appreciates the standard Nathaniel has set. And whether he ends up at his brotherís alma mater or on the campus of one of its arch-enemies, rest assured Xavier will always know where to turn for advice.
"It feels good to know that you have somebody to look to and talk to," he says.