AFI’s All-Europe Team: Defensive Line – Adedayo Odeleye, Berlin Thunder

Adedayo Odeleye was a man on a mission in 2021. His aim was simple: to amass a portfolio of tape in the European League of Football. He succeeded and in doing so, earned himself a spot on AFI’s All-Europe Team.

In January 2021, the 6’5″, 265-pound Odeleye, a Nigerian born, British defensive lineman, was selected through the NFL’s International Pathway Program (IPP) to train at the IMG Academy in Florida. Odeleye was one of 12 hoping to make the final selection and make it into the NFL.

At the time, he had played in only a smattering of games at Loughborough University, England, after picking up the sport in his first year. The IPP ultimately rejected Odeleye, stating that he had not played enough football.

But Odeleye’s apparent failure quickly turned to motivation. Shortly after leaving Florida, he signed with ELF’s Berlin Thunder and went on a violent crusade of vindication. Using his rejection as fuel, he was determined to prove that he was good enough for the NFL.

And prove it he did. Odeleye was a problem for opposing offenses all season in the ELF. He was bigger, faster and stronger than every lineman that laid a hand on him. The 24-year-old bullied his way through blockers and caused havoc in the backfield, playing an integral part on one of the best defenses in the league this year, finishing with seven sacks in eight games.

Odeleye’s outstanding performance has also earned him another shot at the NFL through the IPP program in 2022. The big man has come a long way since his last entry. For his sake, let us hope it is enough.

Read more about Adedayo Odeleye here.


Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.