2024 NFL International Player Pathway Spotlight: Praise Olatoke, WR, Scotland & Nigeria

This year’s NFL International Player Pathway Program features 16 talented athletes from all over the world. The group includes several former rugby and Aussie football players, as well as players with basketball and even some football backgrounds.

One player who stands out of the group is Praise Olatoke, as the Scottish-Nigerian sprinter hopes to turn his elite track speed into gridiron glory, as he has been chosen to be part of this year’s elite group.

Born in Lagos, Olatoke moved with his family to Glasgow, Scotland at the age of five. As a teenager he immediately stood out as an elite athlete. Growing up he dominated in track and field as well as in soccer and rugby. His speed didn’t go unnoticed as he ran for the Scottish national track and field team. He was named the 2019 Scottish U20 Athlete of the Year and qualified to represent the United Kingdom at the 2020 European Athletics U20 Championships specializing in the 60 and 300-meter sprints.

Olatoke took his talents abroad in 2020 running track and studying at Trinity Western University in Canada. There he set school records in both the 300 meters and 60 meters.

Soon Olatoke was on the move again transferring to The Ohio State track team in the competitive Big Ten conference. Even among some of the nation’s best sprinters, Olatoke stood out earning All-Conference Honors and helped his team win the 2022 Outdoor Big Ten 4x100m Relay Championship in a time of 39.12 seconds.

While at OSU, Olatoke took up a liking for American football as the Ohio State Buckeyes football team dominates the central Ohio sports scene. After attending a few games and buying into the football buzz, Olatoke didn’t take long to join the action. The track star made his American football debut for Ohio State’s Club Football Team playing wide receiver for the team.

Olatoke played just one season for Ohio State Club Football, catching seven passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns in 2022. His 33.0 yards per catch was the best in the National Club Football Association amongst players who participated in seven or more games that season. The 2022 season was his first and only year playing organized American tackle football.

Since the NFL IPP’s inception, 37 international players have signed with NFL teams (allocated, drafted, and or signed as a free agent), with 18 IPP athletes currently on 2023 NFL rosters.

Olatoke is aiming to crack an NFL roster for a second time through the NFL International Player Pathway Program as he was one of the 16 players from around the world selected to compete for their spots on an NFL squad. He will fly to the United States soon to begin training.

Watch Olatoke tell his own story below:

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and