INDIANAPOLIS — Some four years ago, Adetomiwa Adebawore and Evan Hull arrived together in Evanston as fresh-faced recruits for Northwestern football — and now — both have arrived in Indianapolis, ready to make an impact as rookies for the Colts.
Not only did Adebawore and Hull play together as Wildcats — while also being drafted in the fourth and fifth rounds by Indianapolis — they were both a part of the same recruiting class in 2019, and from their very first impressions of one another, two things stood out.
Aura and mentality.
“My first impression of Adetomiwa was probably seeing a video of him power-cleaning 405 in high school, and just from then on out, he’s just been a dominant force.” Hull said in a Zoom interview with WGN. “He’s always been somebody that you notice him when he walks into a room, for sure. He’s got that energy. He’s got that aura.”
As Hull alluded to, Adebawore is hulk-like. He’s a big, fast, agile and strong defensive lineman whose motor is as impressive as his first step off the line, or the 40-time he ran at the NFL Combine in March.
While Hull checks in about three inches shorter than Adebawore and about 70 pounds lighter, no less should be expected when comparing a running back to a defensive lineman.
According to Adebawore, he more than makes up for any perceived lack of size through his work ethic and competitive edge.
“He’s talented, but I think his work ethic has really helped him,” Adebawore said during the same Zoom interview. “I remember one time, we were watching the  national championship, LSU versus Clemson … We watched the game in the players’ lounge, and at halftime, he comes back with like cones and everything and he’s doing drills out on the field.”
That was during their freshman year at Northwestern, and over time, the two developed into impact players for Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats football program.
Hull finished his career with Northwestern as a two-time honorable mention All-Big Ten selection during his junior and senior seasons. Over that two year span, Hull racked up 1,916 rushing yards to go with 810 receiving yards and 16 total touchdowns (12 on the ground, four through the air), which included 54 receptions during his senior season — the most across college football for any running back in 2022.
Adebawore made All-Big Ten honorable mention his junior season, and followed it up by earning third team All-Big Ten his senior year. Over those two seasons, Adebawore led the Wildcats in sacks (9.5) and tackles-for-loss (17.5), while also registering 31 QB pressures and 27 run stops his senior year, good for third among all Big Ten edge rushers in 2022, according to Pro Football Focus.
“At the end of the day, it’s the mentality, the work ethic, the discipline, the things that we’ve honed ever since being at Northwestern,” Hull said. “That’s going to translate here, and that’s going to help us both, you know, have long, fruitful careers in the NFL.”
When it comes to playing in the NFL, both saw the dream could turn into reality while playing in college, but for one, it was a lifetime in the making.
“My goal was always NFL since I put a helmet on in third grade,” Hull said. “But when it really became a reality for me, like mentally … was probably after my junior season. Just how I performed and things of that nature, I was like, ‘okay, if I keep this up, I can definitely get drafted.‘”
“For me, it was after the 2020 season,” Adebawore said. “Just kind of watching that draft, seeing my teammates get drafted, and then some other guys in the Big Ten go first, second, third round and I’m looking at those names like … those are some guys I played against and I thought I did some good things … that was when it really clicked that I had a real chance to be in the league.”
After spending four years together as teammates, rooming together at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, cheering each other on as participants in the NFL Combine, and hearing their names called during the NFL Draft, they are now both in Indianapolis, on the doorstep of realizing that dream.
Adebawore and Hull will spend the next three-plus weeks getting reps at organized team activities and mandatory minicamp with the rest of the Colts roster, up until June 15.
At that point, players will be given a break for a month-and-a-half, until training camp begins for Indianapolis on July 27.
Once training camp ends on Aug. 25, they’ll get the chance to officially turn their pro football dreams into reality on Sunday, Sept. 10, when the Colts open up their season at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars.