NFL International Player Pathway spotlight: Leonel Misangumkini, DL, Austria

For the third season in a row, Austrian football will be well represented in the NFL’s International Player Pathway program. This year’s selections mark the second chance for one such prospect as Vienna’s Leonel Misangumkini has been invited again after participating in the program last year.

Instituted in 2017, the NFL International Player Pathway program aims to give elite international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills, and ultimately earn a spot on an NFL roster.

So far, the program has helped players such as Jordan Mailata (Philadelphia Eagles/Australia), Sammis Reyes (Washington Football Team/Chile), and Jakob Johnson (New England Patriots/Germany) earn roster spots in the NFL.

The 6’5″, 230 pound 24-year old was superb in helping the Vienna Vikings capture their best of five Austrian championship series during the pandemic altered 2020 season. Although Misangumukini has only been a part of the Vikings football program since 2016, he has learned quickly. The lean, long-armed, and athletic defensive end has shown a true commitment to the game, improving bit by bit every season, flashing the traits of a future pro more and more. Vikings head coach Chris Calaycay on his NFL talent:

“Misangumukini keeps getting better each and every season. He is a late bloomer when it comes to defensive line play but the tools are there. We have seen great steps in practice and the short time that we had this season due to Covid, Leo showed what he can do. He is still football young, has potential, has the measureables and will use this opportunity to get even better.”

Following that summer season, the Austrian with Congolese roots was invited to the International Player Pathway program along with Vienna Vikings teammate Bernhard Seikovits. The two Vikings trained long hours together at Florida’s IMG Academy learning from NFL coaches. However, an unfortunate groin injury ended up Misgumkini’s chances of being allocated to an NFL team as he was unable to properly perform at the player’s Pro Day.

Now, more than eight months later, Misangumukini is back and eager for another chance to earn a spot in the NFL. This time around, he hopes to join Vikings teammate Bernard Seikovits and former on-field adversary Sandro Platzgummer and become the third Austrian in the NFL. Misangumukini posted a short and simple message regarding he second chance at achieving his football dreams:

“I’m excited and happy for getting another opportunity”

Read more about Misgumkini’s football journey

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football