The sophomore I-back headed into fall camp as the frontrunner to serve as Rex Burkhead's top backup. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Abdullah finished ninth nationally in kickoff return average in 2011 and recorded seven returns that covered at least 35 yards.
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Q: Aaron Green was a good friend of yours. Now that he has transferred, who are you close with?
A: That was one of my best friends. But I've always been really good friends with Braylon Heard. We lived together in the dorms last year. I live with him now. Taariq Allen is probably my best friend on the team. Me and Rex, we hang out a lot off the field.
Q: You're living with Braylon and Taariq off campus. How is that going? Any roommate problems?
A: No, they go to sleep upset sometimes because I whip their butts in the (video) games, but that's just how it is.
Q: Are you more competitive with those guys on the field or on video games?
A: Probably on the video games, we're way more competitive. If I lose to Braylon in a game, I might not talk to him for a week.
Q: Compare your progress last August to this August.
A: Mentally, I'm light-years ahead of where I was last August. Last August, I would like to think I had arrived. But looking back to last year, I was just completely clueless at times. I've been studying up and really getting into my playbook and understanding why we run things, why the schemes are this way. It's something I've really improved. This August, I feel like I've got a mental edge.
Q: How difficult was the adjustment as a freshman, trying to succeed when you're in for maybe a play or two at a time?
A: It was kind of tough. Because every time I got in, it was like being in for the first time. I wasn't really warm. I didn't really get a read of how fast the defense was, how they were playing certain schemes. So hopefully this year, I'll be in for more than one play at a time and I can really adjust.
— Dirk Chatelain