With a rod in his surgically repaired right leg, UW’s star linebacker is motivated for a big senior season.
From his knee to his ankle, a titanium rod now covers the length of Azeem Victor’s lower right leg.
“Bionic Man, man,” he said with a laugh. “I love it. I love it.”
Washington’s senior linebacker was back in the middle of the defense for the start of fall camp on Monday evening — and back with confidence in his leg after recovering from a broken tibia that kept him out of the final month of the 2016 season.
Victor says he feels faster than he did before the injury, and he’s motivated to return to his all-Pac-12 form.
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“I feel like I’ve been away from football for so long, just missing like half the season, so that’s definitely motivation not being able to finish with my team,” said Victor, listed at 6-feet-3 and 231 pounds. “I’m definitely ready to take us back to where we want to be.”
His presence is felt around the field.
“He definitely brings a very ‘Azeem’ energy to practice,” nose tackle Greg Gaines said. “He’s fun to be around and he gets everyone going.”
UW’s defense has improved in each of defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski’s three seasons on Montlake — from 24.8 points per game allowed in 2014, to 18.8 in 2015 and 17.7 last year — and even with several key losses in the secondary Victor says the expectations remain high.
“We have a lot of playmakers, even with our young guys. I don’t see any holes in our defense,” he said. “Everyone is ready to go out there … and they’re ready to roll.”
Victor and senior weakside linebacker Keishawn Bierria enter their third year starting together in the middle of the defense, and they have a chance to cement a legacy as one of the best linebacker tandems in school history.
“When we first got here, we talked about starting together and finishing together,” Victor said. “And a lot of the people we started with aren’t here anymore. So it’s a blessing that we’re still here and we’re able to make an impact on this team. It’s a blessing to be able to be out here with someone I stuck around with for so long, to go out and play and have fun.
“I think we’re going to have fun this year.”
This summer, Victor said he worked out every day — didn’t miss a…