JMU grad transfers D’Angelo Amos, Adeeb Atariwa looking to leave mark at UVA
D’Angelo Amos and Adeeb Atariwa fell, like manna from heaven, into the laps of the defensive brain trust at UVA, bolstering an already deep and talented unit bringing back a ton of experience from a successful 2019 that included the program’s first appearances in the ACC Championship Game and the Orange Bowl.
Amos and Atariwa, both grad transfers from JMU, know success themselves.
The Dukes played in two of the most recent three FCS national championship games, dating back to the redshirt freshman years of both Amos and Atariwa, in 2017.
“If you look at their backgrounds, these guys have played in like 15- and 16-game seasons with playoffs, and so I think the more you play football, I really don’t think it matters what level it’s at, those guys have had a tradition of expecting to win,” co-defensive coordinator Nick Howell said.
Amos, a safety, and Atariwa, a defensive lineman, decided to transfer ahead of the decision by JMU, an FCS power, to shutter its fall season with an eye to trying to play with the rest of FCS in the spring.
The pair are already in the rotation at their positions on the UVA defense, head coach Bronco Mendenhall said.
Amos will bolster a secondary that needs to replace Bryce Hall, now in camp with the NFL’s New York Jets.
The Richmond native recorded 57 tackles, two interceptions, broke up five passes and blocked three kicks in 2019 at JMU, which he leaves ranked second on the program’s all-time list with 1,259 career punt return yards, also having returned five punts for touchdowns.
Atariwa appeared in 39 career games for JMU, with 23 career starts. The Sterling native made 52 tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble, a pass breakup and one blocked kick in 2019.
They bring high-end skills – both are NFL prospects – and that big-game experience from JMU’s deep runs in the FCS playoffs.
And they each have something in the way of chips on their shoulders as they make the move up the ladder from FCS to the ACC.
“If you’re a good athlete, and you’re a true competitor, you want a shot at playing against better competition. So, this is proving grounds for them as well,” Howell said. “They were like, Hey, this is my shot. I can show what I can do. And so, I think I got a lot of good stuff going for them.”
Story by Chris Graham