Department of Sport

Raising the Bar – University of Nottingham law graduate takes huge step towards the NFL


University of Nottingham law graduate, Ayo Oyelola. has taken a huge step towards playing in the NFL after being selected for the 2021 NFL International Player pathway Programme.

Since its creation in 2017, the programme has provided a pipeline of international players to the NFL with Patriots fullback Jakob Johnson (Germany), Eagles offensive tackle Jordan Mailata (Australia) and Panthers defensive end Efe Obada (U.K.). currently on NFL rosters.

E​leven athletes from nine countries will compete for a spot in the 2021 International Player Pathway Program, the NFL announced. 

The program provides elite international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills, and ultimately earn a spot on an NFL roster.​

Oyelola, who in graduated in Summer 2020, will soon begin training in the United States in hopes of being selected for a practice squad position for the 2022 NFL season through the International Player Pathway Program. 


Speaking about his selection he said, "It's a huge honour to be given an opportunity to compete for a spot on the NFL International Player Pathway program, I'm hugely excited to join a fantastic group of athletes as we develop our skills as we aim of making an NFL roster.

 "Having never played American Football before studying at the University of Nottingham, I'm hugely grateful for the foundation in football that UoNAF gave me. The coaching staff is second to none, and they really pushed me to be the very best I could be - on and off the field - I'd especially like to thank Coach Mortimer, Coach Davies and Coach Scott for their leadership, coaching and friendship. I would also like to say a huge thank you to all my teammates for the help and support they gave; I'm fortunate to be part of a team who genuinely care about each other, and push each other to be successful.

 "I'm excited to continue my football journey, and I can't wait to get going. The real work starts now!"
Oyelola’s athletic and playing development has been seismic, having gone from complete rookie to cusp of the biggest league in the world during his time at University of Nottingham.

University of Nottingham Sport Head Coach Jason Scott said, “Ayo has got to where he is through hard work, dedication and application of what he is taught and coached, and we are hugely proud of his achievements - we're also really excited to see where he could land up next season.”

Oyelola now finds himself as one of just 11 people in the world invited to participate in the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program and is taking part in an intense eight-week training program in the US.

The University of Nottingham is the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide Sport University of the Year 2021.

For more information on Performance Sport at University of Nottingham click here.

For all press and media enquiries please contact Mark Bullock

Posted on Monday 18th January 2021

University of Nottingham Sport

David Ross Sports Village
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 74 87000