2017 NFL Draft

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Jon Abbate

Height: 5-10 | Weight: 231 | College: Wake Forest
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A consistently productive performer, Abbate has been looked upon by his teammates for his leadership since moving into the starting lineup midway through his redshirt freshman season. A very physical tackler with the arm strength to easily shed blocks, he became the first player to lead the team in tackles three consecutive seasons since Reggie McCummings accomplished that feat from 1983-85.

A member of the 2006 Chuck Bednarik Award watch list, it was Abbate's experience and knowledge about the defensive system that helped the team reap unprecedented success as Wake Forest earned a BCS bowl bid for the first time in school history.

The oldest of four Abbate children is no stranger to leading his team in tackles. While playing for Harrison High School, he was the leading tackler in the state of Georgia as a senior with 207 stops, averaging more than 15 tackles per game. He also registered 25 stops behind the line of scrimmage and 10 sacks that season.

That performance earned Abbate All-State and 2002 Defensive Player of the Year honors from both the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Marietta Journal, and All-County (chosen three consecutive years) recognition. He was named the Cobb County Defensive Player of the Year and Prep Star All-Region accolades.

Abbate was also named to the Rivals.com Top 100 list and to the TV 33 All-Metro team. The three-year starter was named Defensive Player of the Week six times during his senior year. He also lettered twice in track.

Abbate enrolled at Wake Forest in 2003. He performed on the scout team until a mid-season left shoulder injury sidelined him for the second part of the season. In 2004, Abbate earned Freshman All-American second-team and All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention. Despite not taking over middle linebacker chores until midseason, he led the team with 101 tackles (60 solos), a sack and two forced fumbles. For his efforts, he placed second in the voting for the ACC Rookie of the Year Award and was the recipient of the team's Bill George Award, given to the Deacons' Most Outstanding Lineman.

An honorable mention All-ACC selection and named to ESPN.com's All-May Day Team for toughness and willingness to play through pain in 2005, Abbate started 10 games in the middle, despite playing with a nagging hamstring strain. He was chosen to the Raleigh News & Observer's All-Big Four Team, as he became the first player to lead the Deacons in tackles in consecutive seasons since Kevin Giles in 1993-94. Abbate totaled 77 tackles (41 solos) with a pair of sacks and six stops behind the line of scrimmage.

Abbate garnered All-ACC first-team accolades in 2006. He joined McCummings (1983-85) and Carlos Bradley (1978-80) as the only players in school history to lead the team in tackles three times in a career. He registered a career-high 120 tackles (46 solos), the most by a Wake Forest player since Marquis Hopkins had 120 in 2001. He had three sacks with seven stops for losses. He caused and recovered a fumble, deflected three passes and intercepted another. He also changed jersey numbers, surrendering the No. 40 he wore since entering the school for No. 5.

In 35 games at Wake Forest, Abbate started 29 times. He ranks 13th on the school's all-time record list with 298 tackles (147 solos), adding six sacks for minus-43 yards and 16.5 stops for losses totaling 68 yards. Abbate caused and recovered three fumbles. He picked off four passes for 29 yards in returns and batted away four other throws.


Positives: Has a typical middle linebacker's frame -- solidly built with heavy bone structure, short stature, wide waist and hips, big bubble, muscular arms, legs and thighs … Doesn't play with much flash or fanfare, but shows athletic movements closing on the ball … Works hard in the weight room and spends extra hours studying film … Focused in his off-season training and is an intense player who will do whatever it takes to improve … Old-school type of player, reminding some of former USFL and Carolina Panthers great, Sam Mills, for his ability to compensate for size or any other athletic deficiencies with a strong drive, good urgency in his play and desire to always be around the ball … Alert athlete who is quick to read and react to plays in front of him … Keys the run and pass well to fill the rush lanes or drop back in zone coverage … Has good vision and rarely hesitates once he locates the ball … Sniffs out plays by formation recognition … Quick to fill when taking on lead blockers and does a decent job of slipping past big blockers, showing the ability to be stout at the point of attack … Uses his hands well when taking on blockers or when protecting his body working in space … Also shows good extension agility to pluck and snatch the pass outside the frame … Has the functional upper body strength and hand jolt to try and reroute tight ends and backs in the short area … Seldom runs under blocks, doing a nice job of avoiding and scraping to make the play … Can close on the ball in a hurry and is best when making plays outside the box … Not the fastest or most athletic mover, but is relentless in his pursuit and quick to key and diagnose to give a solid second effort chasing down sideline plays … Generally an aggressive tackler who flashes good strike ability … Aware of routes and alert to threats working in the short area passing game (can turn and run better there, as he looks stiff in his pass drops, making him suspect in man coverage outside that area) … Catches the ball cleanly and does a good job adjusting on the move to make the interception.

Negatives: Looks strong making blocks on the move or in space, but gets killed by in-line blockers, as he lacks the size to split tackles and neutralize double teams … Not a weak player, but with his power you would like to see him not try to avoid lineman so much coming off the edge (takes a wide loop, making him too late to apply pocket pressure) … Can turn and drop in short area pass coverage, but lacks the loose hips to be fluid in his transition and gets too high in his stance executing pass drops … Reads off the snap, but struggles to locate the ball in a crowd (too short) … Hard hitter, but when he loses mirror on the opponent, he gets a little out of control … Needs to be more alert to cut blocks, as he will usually get swept off his feet trying to move through a crowd … Good form tackler on the move, but has a tendency to over-commit when trying to shed … Adequate blitzer, but needs to develop a quicker swim move to get off the offensive lineman's block.

Compares To: GARY BRACKETT-Indianapolis … Like Bracket, Abbate is not going to be a big playmaker in the backfield, but does a good job of avoiding blocks and making plays outside the box. He is not the most athletic middle linebacker you will find, but he is relentless in his pursuit and plays with good sideline-to-sideline effort. His key and diagnose skills, along with vision and anticipation, allows him to be in position to make the play. Still, his lack of ideal size and lack of burst (along with hip tightness) will let the quicker receivers get past him in passing situations.

Career Notes

Ranks 13th in school history with 298 tackles (147 solos) … Joined Carlos Bradley (1978-80) and Reggie McCummings (1983-85) as the only players in school history to lead the team in tackles three consecutive seasons (2004-06).

2006 Season

Consensus All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team selection … Led the team and ranked third in the conference with a career-high 120 tackles (46 solos) … His 120 tackles were the most by a Wake Forest player since Marquis Hopkins amassed 125 hits in 2001 … Had three sacks for minus 13 yards and seven stops for losses of 26 yards … Recovered and caused a fumble … Deflected three passes and intercepted another for a 3-yard return … Made 9 of his plays vs. the run, including 19 third-down stops (13 vs. the run, 6 vs. the pass) and three more on fourth-down action … Made thirteen tackles inside the red zone, including six on goal-line plays … Stopped opposing ball carriers eight times on carries that resulted in no gain … Changed jersey numbers from #40 to #5 prior to the season opener.

2006 Game Analysis

Syracuse … Opened the season with seven tackles (6 solos) on 48 plays … Head to Head Competition-HB#22-Curtis Brinkley-Eight carries for 49 yards.

Duke … Totaled eleven tackles (3 solos) with an assisted sack and 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage on 70 plays … Assisted in sacking QB Thaddeus Lewis for a 3-yard loss on a third-&-6 play with 5:13 left to play to preserve a 14-13 decision … Head to Head Competition-HB#21-Re'quan Boyette-Nine runs for 17 yards.

Connecticut … Charged with grabbing the face mask of fullback Lou Allen on an early first quarter 3-yard run, but managed to total ten tackles (3 solos) and assist on two sacks while also batting away a pass … On the game's first play from scrimmage, Abbate and defensive end Brian Andrews sacked QB D.J. Hernandez for a 6-yard loss. Two plays later, he teamed with defensive tackle Jyles Tucker to sack Hernandez for a 4-yard loss on a third-&-14 play … Head to Head Competition-HB#44-Terry Cauley-Fifteen carries for 81 yards, one catch for 3 yards.

Mississippi … In 44 plays, Abbate managed only two solo tackles … Head to Head Competition-HB#6-B.J. Green-Ellis-Twelve runs for 54 yards.

Liberty … Produced six tackles (2 solos) with a pass deflection, sacking QB Brock Smith for minus 2 yards on a third-&-8 play early in the first quarter, forcing Liberty to punt … Head to Head Competition-HB#3-Rashad Jennings-19 carries for 35 yards.

Clemson … Collected twelve tackles (6 solos) … Head to Head Competition-HB#1-James Davis-26 attempts for 95 yards, three catches for 48 yards.

North Carolina State … Posted seven tackles (3 solos) and deflected one pass … Head to Head Competition-HB#24-Andre Brown-Eight carries for 51 yards and a touchdown.

North Carolina … Followed with seven tackles (5 solos) and picked off a third-&-goal Joe Dailey pass in the end zone, returning the ball 3 yards with 0:11 left in the game to preserve a 24-17 decision … Head to Head Competition-HB#28-Ronnie McGill-28 runs for 117 yards and a touchdown, caught three passes for 24 yards.

Boston College … Left the game in the third quarter with an ankle sprain, but delivered thirteen tackles (5 solos) with a forced fumble and a stop behind the line of scrimmage …

Stopped tailback L.V. Whitworth for a 1-yard loss late in the first quarter and caused a fumble when he crashed into QB Matt Ryan on a third-&-goal play with 4:36 left in the third quarter (Ryan would score on a 2-yard run on the next play) … Head to Head Competition-HB#30-L.V. Whitworth-Twelve carries for 34 yards, four catches for 43 yards.

Florida State … Saw minimal action (one play) due to his ankle injury.

Virginia Tech … Returned to the starting lineup with six tackles (5 solos) … Head to Head Competition-HB#28-Branden Ore-One carry for 5 yards.

Maryland … Credited with nine tackles (8 assists) … Head to Head Competition-HB#21-Keon Lattimore-23 runs for 119 yards and a touchdown.

Georgia Tech (ACC Championship Game) … Helped the team to a 9-6 win, as Abbate was in on 15 tackles (11 solos), a 3-yard sack and two stops for minus 7 yards … Four minutes into the second half, the Wake Forest linebacker was penalized for roughing QB Reggie Ball, but on the next play, he tackled Ball for a 4-yard loss. On fourth-&-1, he again took down Ball for no gain, killing a 7-play, 67-yard drive … With 2:44 left in the game, Abbate sacked Ball for a 3-yard loss on a third-&-10 play, killing a last ditch scoring drive … Head to Head Competition-HB#22-Tashard Choice-21 carries for 100 yards.

Louisville (MPC Computers Bowl) … Closed out his career with fifteen tackles (4 solos), including one that stopped tailback George Stripling for a 6-yard loss on a fourth quarter run with 10:22 left in the game … Early in the third quarter, Abbate recovered a fumble by Mario Urrutia after a 6-yard catch at the WF 29 … Head to Head Competition-HB#33-Kolby Smith-16 runs for 82 yards, two catches for 34 yards.

2005 Season

All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention … Named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list … Selected to ESPN.com's All-May Day Team for toughness and willingness to play through pain … Chosen to the Raleigh News & Observer's All-Big Four Team … Named ACC Defensive Linemen of the Week and Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week vs. Clemson … Bothered early in the year with a hamstring pull that forced him to miss the Nebraska clash … Still managed to lead the team with 77 tackles (41 solos) in ten games … Had two sacks for minus 21 yards and six stops for losses of 27 yards … Recovered a pair of fumbles and intercepted two passes for 26 yards in returns … Wore jersey #40.

2005 Game Analysis

Named Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance vs. Clemson, as he had 13 tackles and two interceptions … Made three tackles vs. Vanderbilt … Had five tackles and one sack vs. East Carolina … Posted six tackles in the Maryland game including one for loss … Made eight stops at Florida State … Had nine tackles and recovered a fumble at the Boston College one-yard line in Chestnut Hill … Recorded five tackles in the NC State game … Posted five tackles vs. Duke, including three for loss and one sack … Made 10 tackles at Georgia Tech … Equaled a season-high 13 tackles in the season finale vs. Miami with one tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.

2004 Season

All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention, becoming the first Deacon freshman to earn league honors of any kind since 1976 … Runner-up for ACC Rookie of the Year and selected as the Bill George Award winner as the team's Most Outstanding Lineman … Added second-team Freshman All-American from Rivals.com and third-team honors from The Sporting News … Also named to the ACC All-Freshman team by The Sporting News … Three-time ACC Rookie of the Week award winner … Started the final six games at middle linebacker, leading the team with 101 tackles (60 solos), including a 9-yard sack and 3.5 stops for losses of 15 yards … One of only two Division 1-A freshmen to record over 100 tackles in 2004 … Caused two fumbles, intercepted one pass and deflected another … Wore jersey #40.

2004 Game Analysis

Saw plenty of snaps early in the year, but did not crack the starting lineup until the sixth week of the season vs. Virginia tech … Remained a fixture at linebacker the rest of the year … Led Wake Forest with nine tackles in his collegiate debut at Clemson and was named ACC Rookie of the Week … Recorded a team-high nine tackles vs. North Carolina A&T … Posted nine tackles, one for loss, and his first career interception vs. Boston College … Had seven tackles at North Carolina State … Posted 15 tackles and a forced fumble vs. Virginia Tech and was named ACC Rookie of the Week … Made seven stops vs. Florida State … Recorded a team season-high 17 tackles vs. Duke with 10 solo stops, one for loss, a sack and a forced fumble en route to being named ACC Rookie of the Week … Made seven tackles vs. North Carolina … Had 10 tackles vs. Miami, including five solo stops … Recorded seven tackles including 1.5 for loss at Maryland with his second career sack.

2003 Season

Redshirted the season as a true freshman … Separated his left shoulder and missed out on practicing with the scout team for the second half of the year.

Injury Report

2003: Separated his left shoulder in an October scrimmage, missing the rest of the year.

2005: Did not play vs. Nebraska (9/10) with a hamstring pull.

2006: Suffered a high ankle sprain in the third quarter vs. Boston College (11/04), leaving the game. Only played in one snap the following week vs. Florida State (11/11) due to the injury.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.67 in the 40-yard dash … 360-pound bench press … 500-pound squat … 315-pound power clean … 32-inch vertical jump … 31 5/8-inch arm length … 9 1/4-inch hands.

High School

Attended Harrison (Powder Springs, Ga.) High School, playing football for head coach Bruce Cobleigh … Was the leading tackler in the state of Georgia as a senior with 207 stops, averaging more than 15 tackles per game as a senior … Also registered 25 stops behind the line of scrimmage and 10 sacks that season. That performance earned Abbate All-State, 2002 Defensive Player of the Year honors from both the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Marietta Journal and All-County (chosen three consecutive years) recognition … Named the Cobb County Defensive Player of the Year and Prep Star All-Region accolades … Also named to the Rivals.com Top 100 list and to the TV 33 All-Metro team … The three-year starter was named Defensive Player of the Week six times during his senior year … Lettered twice in track.


Sociology major, with a minor in Journalism … Chose Wake Forest because it's "a program on the rise, has great coaches and a nice college environment." … Son of Maryanne and Steven Abbate … Born 6/18/85 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida … Resides in Powder Springs, Georgia.


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