Orange Bowl Photo Gallery -- Day Five (Photos by Brian Westerholt)
Career: Became the first player in Wake Forest history to forego his senior season to enter the NFL draft... only the third player in ACC history to lead his team in tackles as a freshman, sophomore and junior... joins Virginia's Charles McDaniel (1982-84) and Duke's Ryan Fowler (2000-02).
2006: honorable mention All-American (Sports Illustrated)... first Team All-ACC (ACSMA, College Football News)... Chuck Bednarik Award watch list... ranked second in the ACC with 120 tackles... averaged 8.6 tackles per game... played in 14 games and started 13... did not start against Florida State because of a sprained ankle... made seven tackles against Syracuse... had 11 tackles against Duke, including 1.5 for loss and a half-sack... made 10 tackles at Connecticut with one sack, a tackle for loss and a pass break-up... made two tackles at Ole Miss... had six tackles against Liberty, including a half-sack and a pass break-up... made 12 tackles against Clemson... had seven tackles at NC State and a pass break-up... made seven tackles at North Carolina, plus an interception in the endzone to clinch the win on the game's final play... had 13 tackles against Boston College with a forced fumble and a tackle for loss... hobbled by a sprained ankle at Florida State... did not start and played only four snaps... returned the following week against Virginia Tech and had six tackles... made nine tackles at Maryland... totaled 15 tackles in the ACC Championship game against Georgia Tech with two tackles for loss and one sack... made 15 tackles in the FedEx Orange Bowl against Louisville with one tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
2005: Named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list... an honorable mention All-ACC selection... 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 on October 2... the first player to lead the Deacons in tackles in consecutive seasons since Kevin Giles in 1993-94... led Wake Forest and ranked 10th in tackles, averaging 7.7 per game... ranked fourth on the team with 6.0 tackles for loss... tied for the third on the team with two interceptions... led the team with two fumble recoveries... played in and started in 10 games... missed the Nebraska game with a hamstring injury... made 77 tackles, including 41 solo stops... named Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Clemson... had 13 tackles and two interceptions against the Tigers... had 11 tackles and both interceptions in the first half... made three tackles against Vanderbilt... had five tackles and one sack against 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... had five tackles against Duke, including three for loss and one sack... made 10 tackles at Georgia Tech... equaled a season-high 13 tackles in the season finale against Miami with one tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
2004: Named honorable mention All-ACC, the first Deacon freshman to earn league honors of any kind since 1976... runner-up for ACC Rookie of the Year... selected as the Bill George Award winner as the team's most outstanding lineman... chosen second team freshman All-America by Rivals.com and third team freshman All-America by The Sporting News... named to the ACC All-Freshman team by The Sporting News... a three-time ACC Rookie of the Week award winner... led the Deacons with 101 tackles... had 30 more stops than any other Wake Forest defender and 49 more than any other ACC freshman... one of only two freshmen nationally to record 100 tackles... saw plenty of snaps early in the year, but did not crack the starting lineup until the sixth week of the season against 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 against North Carolina A&T... posted nine tackles, one for loss, and his first career interception against Boston College... had seven tackles at NC State... posted 15 tackles and a forced fumble against Virginia Tech and was named ACC Rookie of the Week... made seven stops against Florida State... recorded a team season-high 17 tackles against 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 against North Carolina... had 10 tackles against Miami, including five solo stops... recorded seven tackles including 1.5 for loss at Maryland with his second career sack.
2003: 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.
Background: Leading tackler in the state of Georgia as a senior with 207 stops, averaging more than 15 tackles per game... also had 25 tackles for loss and 10 sacks that season... a 2002 all-state by several sources... selected the 2002 Defensive Player of the Year by both the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Marietta Journal... a three-time all-county pick by both publications... named the Cobb County Defensive Player of the Year... a PrepStar All-Region selection... named to the Rivals.com Top 100 list... named to the TV 33 All-Metro team... three-year starter at Harrison HS... earned two letters in track... named Defensive Player of the Week six times during his senior year... coached by Bruce Cobleigh at Harrison.
Personal: Majoring in sociology and minoring in journalism... born June 18, 1985 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.... son of Steven and Maryanne Abbate, both Florida State graduates... the oldest of four Abbate children... chose Wake Forest because it's "a program on the rise, has great coaches and a nice college environment."
Career Defensive Statistics G-GS Tck TFL Sks Int PBU FR FF 2004 11-6 101 3.5/13 1/9 1/1 1 0 2 2005 10-10 76 6/27 2/21 2/26 0 2 0 2006 14-13 120 7/26 3/13 1/3 3 1 1 Career 35-29 297 16.5/66 6/43 4/30 4 3 3