Christian Okoye envisions a huge NFL talent influx from Africa

Christian Okoye
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Christian Okoye grew up in Nigeria and didn’t play football until he was 23 years old. By the time he was 28, he led the NFL in rushing. He thinks there are a lot more African athletes who could do the same, if given the opportunity.

The NFL recently held a talent scouting event in Ghana and is planning to have a permanent presence in Africa to recruit and develop players, and Okoye believes that the NFL could soon find itself with a huge influx of African players.

“When I was trying to bring the NFL to Nigeria, and Africa, I was telling people that Africa is going to be like the Dominican Republic, where you have a bunch of baseball players come from,” Okoye told Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star.

Okoye believes that as more African players make it to the NFL, the sport will become more popular on African television, and that will result in more young people seeing it and aspiring to play it.

“We just have a lot of athletes in Africa that can make it out here,” said Okoye. “You’re going to see more and more. Every year, there’s going to be an increased number of players coming in.”

For the NFL, the investment in talent scouting in Africa could yield very big results.

7 responses to “Christian Okoye envisions a huge NFL talent influx from Africa

  1. The original Beastmode. Check out the size of the shoulder pads, too. Ouch.

  2. I think he didn’t even start playing until he came to the states as a 18 year old track athlete. Dude was a monster. Too bad they didn’t have QB when he was in KC. Those teams were built to run and play defense, but the passing was awful, so if they got down, they were done. Just like Tennessee of late.

  3. Two questions. Is the NFL going go as far as MLB with training facilities, player development, etc? And, is this a step towards finally undercutting college football? NFL has always treaded lightly when it comes to college football, but if can get significant talent from a large continent, you no longer have to worry about the NCAAs feelings.

  4. It would seem that we should take care of our own talent before we start wholesale importation.

  5. Loved those days with the Nigerian Nightmare! The nickname belies the fact that he’s one of the nicest guys around!

  6. I could entirely see this. Freakish athleticism is all over the world, but the world doesn’t expose non americans to american football. The NFL needs to commit more to finding and developing talent worldwide, including in the US, the NFL could definitely use more Nigerian Nightmares, more unique size, speed, strength and/or intelligence talents to add to the game. Guys like Australian Daniel Faalele who played basketball and rugby before he was randomly discovered by Hawaii’s football program, and was drafted by the Ravens in the 3rd round this year. With Samoan and Tongan parents, he’s the heaviest NFL player currently at 384 lbs, and he would never have played football. Maybe he doesn’t pan out, but if he does, he’d be a monster and a unique and cool talent to the NFL.

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