Adedayo Odeleye: British NFL Rookie Joining the Houston Texans, Watching Aaron Donald, Opposite Laremy Tunsil and His Love for Xs and Os | NFL News

Dayo Odeleye during Texans rookie mini-camp

Dayo Odeleye during Texans rookie mini-camp

It’s 7:15 a.m. in Houston, but mid-morning for Texan Adedayo Odeleye’s defense as he sits down, proudly sporting team clothes, to talk to Sky Sports who’s been up for over two hours.

The former Loughborough student admits turning up at the crack of dawn turns out to be much easier at the start of a day in the NFL than dragging oneself to college in time. The latter is a thing of the past, but without it he might not be here.

He also admits that as an NFL player he goes to bed much earlier than as a student, so there it is.

Odeleye is just weeks into his NFL career after it was announced he would be assigned to the Texans as a product of the International Player Pathway, of which University of Nottingham graduate Ayo Oyelola also landed a spot with the Jacksonville Jaguars . Hereby we present the latest British Ambassadors who are striving to emulate Efe Obada.

“I was in my kitchen with my mom and brother when I found out, I had a scheduled conversation with the IPP scouts, I was happy with the place I was, but you never know until you get the news,” she said. he. Air sports.

Odeleye during rookie camp

Odeleye during rookie camp

“I was excited and anxious at the same time to get started and I was literally ready to fly the same day, but I had to wait about a week, it was definitely hard to focus on anything else during that week.

“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. That’s part of the game that I also enjoy participating in.

“The fans are a very important aspect of the sport and that is one of the goals of the program. It is not only to get athletes into the competition but also to grow the brand globally and try to get more British and Nigerian to let fans watch and play the sport. Whatever I can do to make that happen, I’ll be happy to do it.”

By now, Odeleye’s story is no secret: born in Nigeria, spent time in Saudi Arabia, moved with his family to the UK at the age of nine before finally enrolling in Loughborough, where he started playing football on the captain’s recommendation. of the university team who had been affected by his dwarf form.

Familiarity with such stems from Odeleye and Oyelola who were both part of the 2021 International Player Pathway training phase but neither was assigned to a roster.

Odeleye then went on to gain experience with the Berlin Thunder in the European League of Football last season, before returning to stake his claim at the International Scouting Combine held at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in October. This time he was ready.

“The first time I got really positive feedback from the boys and scouts, I knew that playing at a high level was something I absolutely had to do, so I went to the European League to try and improve,” he said.

“Also off the field I was really focused in the gym, I changed my whole training pattern in the gym to get a little more functional, get more comfortable and move my body more efficiently. It has clearly paid off.

“I was very disappointed that I didn’t make it to the program last year, but it was understandable for them to say that I probably needed another year to try and improve on several aspects. I believe I certainly did.” .”

“When younger kids ask how they can replicate my journey, I would say just put yourself in the best position possible. Everything out there is a bit out of your hands, there are so many people out there who without them I wouldn’t be where I am today But most importantly, when they came looking for me, I was able to put my best foot forward and be the best version of myself that I can be.”

Odeley Prepares for the NFL

In regards to first impressions of NFL life, he has welcomed the hours he spent burying his head in a script that would once have been daunting as a latecomer to the geeky intricacies of football.

Rookie mini camp, meanwhile, has introduced him to the challenge of competing with some of the most sophisticated and sky-high athletes in the world.

“It’s pretty much what I expected. I came in here expecting high level and high intensity football and a lot of attention to detail, that’s exactly what I got,” he said.

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

“In terms of the X’s and Os, that’s really not something I’ve ever struggled with. I’m a really big fan of the sport, the way I watch football is a bit different, I watch on Sundays and then during the week I go through the matches and analyze what goes on behind the scenes and why players do what they do, what coaches ask of players.

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

He studies the Aaron Donalds of the competition, and why not? He admires Joey and Nick Bosa and their cocktail pass rush moves, because who wouldn’t?

“There are very few Aaron Donalds, but if you look at his game, there are of course things you can replicate and it will definitely improve your game. I like watching the Bosa brothers just because they use their strength and speed to try and get by. tackles, that’s something that I think is going to be part of my game in the future as well.”

Dayo Odeleye on players he likes to watch

He is not naive to look beyond the myriad of teaching aids, but he also wants to be his own player, his own defensive target.

That’s a hand-in-the-dirty cop with a burst of first step and slender arms that let him swim and work his way into tackles and quarterback pressure.

“I’m definitely a three-point stance, that’s what the team asks of me,” he explained. “I’ve played four-point before, last year I also played two-point. But two-point is certainly something I feel good about, that’s how you get away the fastest.

“I am a physical player, long arms, I will definitely build my game around that.

“Moving into the future I feel like (interior play) is something I could do. My body composition, moving down the line is something I could definitely do.”

Odeleye’s development will likely make him familiar with Laremy Tunsil as he goes head-to-head against the two-time Pro Bowl attack on the practice field this summer.

Even at 6’5″ and 265lbs, Odeleye, perhaps for the first time, finds herself too big.

“He’s a big boy, I like to think I’m quite big myself, but he’s a mountain of a person,” he laughs. “Especially in camp, when we put on pads, it’s a challenge that I enjoy.

“The best way to improve your skill level is to go against the best and we all know he is one of the best.

“Against someone with that experience, that skill, it can only do good for me and the whole d-line.”

His arrival coincides with a new phase for the Texans following Lovie Smith’s promotion to head coach in the wake of David Culley’s departure after a 4-13 campaign.

“He’s great, you can definitely see the kind of philosophy and mentality that he’s trying to integrate into the team and it’s something I’m excited about, given the opportunity, the team will go out on the field and play,” he said of Smit .

“He likes playmakers, trying to get the ball out of the attack. The defence, especially at the back, we have playmakers.

“It will be a very nice year to see how it plays out.”

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

For Odeleye, he would be “just happy to be on the pitch”.

Stay tuned to skysports.com/nfl for the latest news, features and interviews as we build the 2022 NFL season; you can also listen to Neil Reynolds and Jeff Reinebold on the Inside the Huddle podcast, and watch Good Morning Football and Pro Football Talk on select Sky Sports TV channels.