Adedayo Odeley: British NFL rookie joins Houston Texas, watches Aaron Donald, faces Laremi Tuncil and his love of Xs and Os | NFL news

Dayo Odeleye during a mini rookie camp in Texas

Dayo Odeleye during a mini rookie camp in Texas

It’s 7:15 a.m. in Houston, but in the middle of the morning for Texas defender Adedayo Odeleio sits down, proudly dressed in sportswear, to talk to Sky Sports after being awake for more than two hours.

The former Loughborough student admits that the rise of the dawn turned out to be much easier at the beginning of a day in the NFL than dragging himself in time to a lecture at the university. The latter is from the past, although he may not be sitting here without it.

He also admits that he goes to bed much earlier as an NFL player than as a student, so that’s right.

Odeleye is just weeks away from his NFL career after it was announced that he would be distributed to the Texans as a product of the International Player Pathway, from which Nottingham University graduate Ayo Oyelola also secured a place at the Jacksonville Jaguars. With this we present the last ambassadors of the United Kingdom who seek to emulate Efe Obada.

“I was in my kitchen with my mother and brother, when I found out, I had a scheduled interview with the IPP scouts, I was happy with where I was, but you never know until you get the news,” he said. Sky Sports.

Odeleye during a rookie camp

Odeleye during a rookie camp

“At the same time, I was excited and worried to start and I was literally ready to take off the same day, but I had to wait about a week, it was hard to focus on something else this week for sure.

“When the news was posted on social media, I had to put my phone on Do Not Disturb for about 24 hours because it just kept exploding. This is part of the game, which I am also excited to participate in.

“Fans are a very important aspect of the sport and this is one of the goals of the program, it is not only to attract athletes to the league, but also to expand the brand around the world and try to get more fans from the UK and Nigeria to watch and play sports. Whatever part I can do to make that happen, I’ll be happy to do it. “

For now, Odeleye’s story is no secret: Nigerian-born, spent some time in Saudi Arabia, moved to the UK with his family at the age of nine, before eventually enrolling in Loughborough, where he began playing football on the captain’s recommendation. of the university team that was hit by his dwarf frame.

The knowledge of such stems from the fact that Odeleye and Oyelola were part of the training phase of the International Player Pathway in 2021, but neither of them was included in the list.

Odeleye subsequently spent last season gaining experience with the Berlin Thunder in the European Football League before returning to bet his claim on the International Scout Complex, which took place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in October. This time he was ready.

“I had really positive feedback from the boys and scouts for the first time, I knew that playing high-level football was something I definitely had to do, so I went to the Europa League to try to improve,” he said.

“Besides, off the field, I was really focused in the gym, I changed my whole model of fitness training to become a little more functional, to feel more comfortable and to move my body more efficiently. Obviously, it paid off.

“I was very disappointed that I didn’t do the program last year, but it was understandable for them to say that I probably need another year to try to improve various aspects. I believe I definitely did.”

“When younger children ask how they can repeat my journey, I would say that you can put yourself in the best possible position. Everything beyond that is somehow out of your hands, there are so many people without whom I would not be where I am at the moment. But the important thing is that when they came to look for me, I managed to put my best foot and be the best version of myself that I can be. “

Odeleye is preparing for the NFL

As for the first impressions of the NFL’s life, he welcomed the hours spent burying his head in a textbook that may once have been scary as being late for football mania.

Meanwhile, the mini-rookie camp introduced him to the challenge of competing with some of the most sophisticated and elevated athletes on the planet.

“It was a lot, as I expected, I came here with the expectation of high-level football, high intensity and very, very careful attention to detail, that’s exactly what I have,” he said.

“Everyone is a few steps taller physically than I’m used to, but I expected that too.

“As far as the Xs and Os are concerned, that’s really not something I’ve ever struggled with. I’m a big fan of the sport, the way I watch football is a little different, I watch on Sunday and then during the week I watch the matches and break down what’s going on behind the scenes and why the players do what they do, what the coaches want from players to do.

“It really helped me increase my football knowledge and make it easier to integrate into the team.”

He’s studying Aaron Donalds from the league, and why not? He admires Joey and Nick Boza and their quick moves with a cocktail pass, because who wouldn’t?

“There are very few Aaron Donalds, but obviously if you watch his game, there are things you can repeat and that will definitely improve your game. I like watching the Boza brothers just because they use their strength and speed to try to get around fights, it’s something I feel will be part of my game in the future. “

Dayo Odeleye for the players he loves to watch

He is not naive to look beyond the myriad training resources, but he also wants to be his own player, his own defense.

This is a first-hand hand-to-hand fighter with wide arms with which to swim and make his way to fights and pressure from the quarterback.

“I’m definitely in a three-point position, that’s what the team wants from me,” he explained. “I played four points before, I played two points last year. But two points are definitely also something I feel comfortable with, so I get the fastest result.

“I’m a physical player, long-handed, that’s definitely something I’m going to build my game around.

“Moving into the future that I feel (playing interior) is something I can potentially do. The composition of my body, the movement along the line is something I can definitely do.”

Odeleye’s development is likely to see him meet Laremy Tunsil, as he faces a two-off Pro Bowl offensive match on the training field this summer.

Even at 6’5 ″ and 265 pounds, Odeleye, perhaps for the first time, turned out to be bigger.

“He’s a big man, I like to think I’m pretty big myself, but he’s a mountain of people,” he laughs. “Especially in the camp, when we put on pads, it’s a challenge that I like.

“The best way to improve your skill levels is to try to stand up to the best, and we all know he’s one of the best out there.

“Against someone with this experience, this skill, it can only work well for me and the whole d-line.”

His arrival coincides with a new phase for the Texans after the appointment of Lowe Smith as head coach after the departure of David Cully as a result of the 4-13 campaign.

“He’s great, you can definitely see what kind of philosophy and way of thinking he’s trying to integrate into the team and that’s something I feel, when I have the opportunity, the team will go out on the field and play with him,” he told Smith. .

“He loves playmakers, trying to take the ball from the attack. The defense, especially in the backend, we have playmakers.

“It’s going to be a very fun year to see exactly how it turns out.”

Some have a desired opponent, others dream of playing in a specific stadium.

For Odeleye, he “will be happy to be on the field”.

Stay on the other side for the latest news, features and interviews as we upgrade to the NFL 2022 season; you can also listen to Neil Reynolds and Jeff Reinbold on the Inside the Huddle podcast and watch Good Morning Football and Pro Football Talk on select Sky Sports TV channels.

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