NFL Academy launches virtual tryouts to find next young stars ahead of 2020/21 season
"We're looking for athletes who are not only good players but good students as well; who are going to work hard both on and off the field"
By Cameron Hogwood
Last Updated: 17/06/20 2:43pm
The NFL Academy has launched a virtual campaign in a bid to find its next batch of student-athletes for the 2020/21 academic year.
Last year saw 80 aspiring NFL stars secure a place on the UK's inaugural NFL programme based at Barnet and Southgate College having taken part in a series of combine-style exercises at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in July.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Academy has turned to a digital format this year which will allow applicants to showcase their expertise by filming themselves completing NFL drills in speed, agility, strength and athleticism.
Videos will be posted onto Instagram, tagging @NFLAcademy and using #JoinNFLAcademy, and applications should also be sent to NFLAcademy.com/apply.
"We're asking athletes aged 16 to 18 to, within government guidelines and social distancing, to go to a park with someone from their household and film themselves completing the four drills that we've set," said Academy head coach Tony Allen.
"These drills are recognised in our industry, similar to those used at the NFL combine.
"Once these films have been sent to us, we'll sit down with our coaching staff, evaluate and rank the athletes. Selection will be made on the players' athletic performance and open spots within the programme roster.
"We're looking for athletes who are not only good players but good students as well; who are going to work hard both on and off the field.
"We know there is competition out there as we've had more than 500 athletes register their interest already, so we're excited to see what talent we can bring into the NFL Academy."
Inside the NFL Academy
NFL Academy quarterback George Reynolds talks to Sky Sports about the Academy's maiden year, competing at the Pro Bowl and US college hopes
The NFL Academy began its first season in September 2019, providing young athletes with an environment in which expand their knowledge of the game and put their skills into practice on the field, while also continuing full-time education.
It is backed by a star-studded list of NFL ambassadors including Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr, British-born Super Bowl-winning running back Jay Ajayi and the Carolina Panthers' London-raised Efe Obada, among others.
England and Tottenham captain Harry Kane, who is an NFL fan, is another of the Academy's high-profile ambassadors.
In January the Academy had the chance to demonstrate its talent as eight young athletes were invited to compete in the skills challenges at the Pro Bowl in Orlando.
"It was an amazing experience," Academy quarterback George Reynolds told Sky Sports in April. "That just gives you that spark and just encourages you to keep working because you want to be there at some point.
"We got to compete against American high schools which is essentially what we're competing against because we're like a high school outside of America, it allowed us to go out there and see what level we were at and where we are compared to the athletes out there.
"It was very fun, one of the best experiences of my life."
While at the Pro Bowl Reynolds and his team-mates were given the opportunity to speak with a number of NFL players, including the Houston Texans' Deshaun Watson and Minnesota Vikings' Kirk Cousins.
Reflecting on the Academy's first year, Reynolds added: "Looking back on the season it was one of the best years of my life. I've been with some amazing teammates, we've grown a really strong bond together and we're ready to take it to the next level and play games."