British born NFL star Jay Ajayi has had a sensational trade to the Philadelphia Eagles. Ajayi has 465 yards and 138 carries so far this season and has been a shining star in a Miami Dolphins side that has been desperate for a star player in a while. BBC NFL guru Osi Umenyiora struggled to understand why the trade was even made. While it surprises some for us over the pond it is one of the biggest NFL news stories as Jay Ajayi is one of the few British NFL players and arguably the most prominent. But why are we talking about him? Let’s take a look at why Jay Ajayi is important for the sport in the UK.
Jay Ajayi, Britains first Star NFL Player
Jay Ajayi was born in London in 1993 but moved with his parents in 2000 to Maryland when he was seven years old. After moving Texas and learning the American sport where he played at Frisco Liberty High School, he was tipped for success. He was 41st best running back in this year and not only gained varsity place for football but also in track and field.
He attended Boise State University and ended the first season with 1425 yards and 18 touchdowns. In his final year with the , eam he was responsible for 41.3% of the team’s total yards and touchdowns!
Ajayi forgoes his final year at University to enter the 2015 NFL Draft. He went to the Miami Dolphins with the 149th overall pick. His debut match was against the Buffalo Bills where he rushed 5 times for 41 yards. His first touchdown was against the then San Diego Chargers.
Ajayi was cemented as a team running back but it wasn’t until Lamar Miller moved to Houston Texans that Ajayi became the de-facto running back for the Dolphins and a star was born.
He went on to make The Dolphins his team carrying the ball and arguable the line of scrimmage forward year on year. His importance for the team makes it all the more surprising why he was traded for a fourth-round pick to the Philadelphia pick.
Why Is He Important for Britain
Although he has grown up in the USA Jay keeps strong ties to the land of his birth and is even a die-hard Arsenal fan.
The NFL has tried many times to break into the UK and Europe. Even an ill-fated league across Europe couldn’t get the ball rolling. But with the new matches taking place in London the league was crying out for a star British player to truly ignite fans passions for the sport.
While there has been plenty of example of British players before, they have been a linesman or kicker. None have been part of an action making position. Ajayi is the first British born player who could make headlines with touchdowns and exciting runs.
For the sport to grow in the UK there has to be a player that will create the fan appreciation, sell shirts and inspire the younger generations that the NFL is a legitimate road to dream down. Ajayi is playing a vital role in all this with his performances for the Dolphins.
The Miami Dolphins is also a heavily supported franchise in the UK thanks to the Dan Marino years and it is almost written in the stars that the first big UK player would play for the side.
Now at the Philadelphia Eagles, Ajayi has a franchise where he can grow his career and stardom. The flight to Philadelphia is also shorter than down to Miami for potential British fans. This is a side he can be the focal point for. Being the main guy will not only help the Eagles to win more, or Ajayi career but also create more headlines and good news stories in the UK and for the NFL and fans like us that is only a good thing.