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College coach believes Raiders got a winner in Divine Deablo

Las Vegas’ third-round draft pick earns high praise for his strength of character from his Virginia Tech coach

Virginia Tech v North Carolina
Divine Deablo
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton learned what a special player/person Divine Deablo is during his sophomore year.

Deablo spent the 2018 season dealing with various, nagging injuries. Yet he continued to go out and be a leader and playmaker for the Hokies’ secondary without a complaint or even a wince.

“I asked him about how he kept going,” Hamilton, who also coaches the Hokies’ safeties, told Silver and Black Pride in an interview on Friday. “And he told me that’s what he saw his parents do growing up. They just always kept going and he felt like he needed to do the same. He’s a special kid.”

Hamilton calls Deablo — who the Las Vegas Raiders took in the third round in the NFL draft last month — one of the all-time favorite players he ever coached and said he was a favorite of the Virginia Tech staff.

“The Raiders got a really good player,” Hamilton said. “He’s a communicator, a great kid and a super fast learner.”

The Raiders plan on making Deablo (who is 6’3, 226 pounds) a linebacker. Hamilton said that was the plan of every team he spoke to during the draft process. He said he believes converting Deablo, who is from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, from safety to linebacker in the NFL is a wise move because it best fits his size and coverage skills, and could also extend his career.

Virginia Tech v Florida State
Divine Deablo
Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Hamilton, who said he never talked to the Raiders about Deablo, said he expected him to go in the third round (the Raiders took Deablo with the No. 80 overall pick) after he shined at his Hokies’ pro day.

While he admitted he is biased, Hamilton, who played safety for the Cleveland Browns and Washington in the 2000s for a brief time, said he believes 22-year-old Deablo can a become a starter in the NFL eventually and he should immediately help as a special teams player.

“He ‘s a good blitzer and and he always knows what to do,” Hamilton said. “He has the speed, the size, all of those thing. Once (he becomes a starter), he won’t look back.”