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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' Yaya Diaby Honored by Senior Bowl Following Sensational Rookie Campaign | Brianna's Blitz 

The Senior Bowl announced the 2024 Hall of Fame class and rookie awards. Bucs’ outside linebacker Yaya Diaby earned co-defensive rookie of the year honors


The Senior Bowl announced its 2024 Hall of Fame class, in addition to its 2023 rookies of the year. In June, the all-star exhibition will host a heralded group of inductees in Alabama. Two players were selected as co-defensive rookies of the year: Buccaneers' outside linebacker Yaya Diaby and Rams' linebacker Byron Young. Diaby posted 25 tackles, 7.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries last season. Young recorded 61 tackles, eight sacks and two forced fumbles.

Puka Nacua (offensive rookie of the year), Diaby and Young will be honored on June 30 at the induction ceremony, which will be hosted by NFL Network's Rhett Lewis at The Grand Hotel Golf Club & Spa.

Diaby took the NFL by storm during his rookie campaign. The Bucs selected Diaby in the third-round of the 2023 NFL Draft and although he only started seven games, he led the team in sacks with 7.5 and finished first among rookies in tackles for loss with 12. Diaby helped set the tone in Todd Bowles' defensive front with natural explosion, power, speed in pursuit and a relentless demeanor.

He took an unconventional path to reach the NFL's doorstep. As a zero-star recruit coming out of North Clayton High School due to size, Diaby took a year off and worked as a wheelchair assistant at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He received a chance to try out at nearby Georgia Military College and was a walk-on, before earning a scholarship in 2018. Over a two-year span at Georgia Military College, Diaby transformed his body and accumulated 77 tackles, 24.0 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks. Subsequently, Diaby received several offers as a three-star juco recruit and eventually committed to Louisville after connecting with coach, Mark Ivey. In 2022, he hit personal bests in sacks (9.0) and tackles for loss (14.0) for the Cards.

At the 2023 Combine, Diaby ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds and earned a Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 9.86 out of 10, ranking 24th out of 1629 defensive ends from 1987 through 2023 (98th percentile). He recorded an impressive 1.56-second 10-yard split, showcasing his acceleration off the ball. Diaby accepted his invitation to the 2023 Reese's Senior Bowl and upped his draft stock by showcasing versatility. After arriving in Tampa Bay, Diaby quickly made an impression. Due to his ability to set the edge, Diaby started out contributing in base packages and as a rotational player in sub-packages. He began to display his upside on passing downs and earned a full-time gig in the lineup. The high-motor player bolstered the Bucs' defensive line during his rookie campaign and is focused on enhancing his arsenal of moves for Year Two. No. 0 has only scratched the surface in the NFL.

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