A look inside one player’s journey from London to the NFL
Every year, the NFL plays a few games in England in an effort to introduce the game to new fans across the pond. Like the millions of American children who dream of playing in the NFL, many young fans in England now have the same dream. What happens when a young fan from England gets the opportunity to come to the United States and pursue that dream? Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing future NFL Offensive Lineman, and my high school teammate, Jermaine “Big London” Eluemunor where he shared a little bit about his journey from England to the NFL.
After playing together during our sophomore year in high school, my football career was over but Jermaine always said that he’d one day make it to the NFL. He played his final two years at Morris Knolls High School before going to Lackawanna Junior College. In his two seasons at Lackawanna, he started gaining national attention and became one of the most touted JUCO recruits in the nation. His intense recruiting period ended with him signing with Texas A&M. After starting this past season at Right Tackle for the Aggies, Jermaine will be taking his talents to the next level. Many draft analysts have him projected as a Day 3 selection in this upcoming draft.
When did you first discover football and did you know right away that you wanted to become a football player?
I discovered football when I was 11 years old when I lived in London. I was watching TV and came across the Giants and Dolphins playing in Wembley Stadium. Just the sight of the game excited me, and after that game, I knew I wanted to play in the NFL one day.
I know you’ve always had confidence in yourself but when did you feel yourself really getting good at football?
When I got to Junior College in the summer of 2012 and started doing really well in practice — that’s when I really started to believe that I could play the game at a really high level.
How did you end up getting discovered by Lackawanna? Was it similar to a normal recruiting process?
Coach (Ryan) Esdale was the one who put me on with the Junior College route. He knew I could play football and knew how bad I wanted to play on the next level so he did his research and told me what he thought was the best way to achieve what I wanted to achieve. That way was the JUCO route so it was really thanks to Coach Esdale.
Can you tell us a little bit about your JUCO experience? The world of high end JUCO football might be something that many football fans aren’t familiar with.
Well my JUCO wasn’t a major program until recently, but it was hard. It’s a grind. You have to really want to be great in order to succeed because you’re at rock bottom looking up. If you’re not hungry and willing to sacrifice it all, then you won’t make it in JUCO. You have to have a lion’s mentality because it’s eat or be eaten.
When it came to the D-1 recruiting process, what led you to A&M? If I remember correctly, you were close to going to Arkansas and a few other schools.
A&M just felt right for me. Arkansas was a great school but ultimately, I felt that A&M was the place for me and the school where I could truly reach my potential.
I think you redshirted your first season and were a backup your second season at A&M. What did those two seasons teach you both on and off the field?
Those two seasons taught me how to play football, and that patience and hard work will pay off in the end.
Do you have any major mentors in the NFL? If so, what’s the best advice they’ve given you?
My biggest NFL mentor is one of my friends, Menelik Watson (of the Denver Broncos). He always gives me good advice and told me to never be satisfied with anything and to strive to accomplish as much as I can.
Did you play any other sports? If so, do you think any of the skills have helped make you a better football player?
I played rugby and wrestled. Wrestling really helped me physically and gave me the confidence I needed to make it this far with football.
Obviously, there are a few London games every season in the NFL. What would it mean to you to play in one of them?
It would be like the cherry on top of the sundae. The opportunity to play in my home country would make playing football so much sweeter. I never thought I’d get the opportunity to play football in England.
Have you followed football at all in England and have you seen the game grow a lot in terms of popularity?
Yes, I’ve watched the game grow in England a lot. It’s crazy how popular the sport is becoming.
What advice would you give to young kids in England or anywhere outside the US that see a football game and want to play it at any level?
I would tell them to simply work hard and that no dream is too big if you believe in yourself and you truly want it. We are all born as equals and the ones that set themselves apart are the ones that aren’t afraid to take risks and think outside the box. You have to think that you’re the best and work your butt off every day to back that thought process up.
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