By : Matt Bressington of Europe's Elite Photo Credit to: NFL Academy
The NFL academy is a noticeably young project compared to other top academies in Europe, having started in September 2019 its only just celebrating its first year of creation. However, in this first year, they have been shinning spotlights on many young and talented UK athletes, five of which are featured on Europe’s Elite “Top 150” with many more to be included down the road.
Possibly one of the more under the radar talents is 6’4 220lbs Tight-end, Henry Rowland who has been lighting up the practices for the NFLA over the last months. Valued at both Tight-end and receiver Henry is immensely gifted, lining up at either position he has the talent and skills to be a spark plug in a position that is underutilized in the UK game, because of the rarity of those who can perform it to a high level.
A relatively new acquisition from soccer, Henry has provided his team with a safe and reliable option on various routes. He accredits his decisive and fast routes to his coaching, having no previous experiences with American football before coming into the academy surrounded by the very best football minds in the UK he was able to craft his game without any bad habits or blemishes.
However, every route starts with a release and the foot and handwork shown on the tape is nothing short of exceptional for a player who has only been training one year. The rip past the defensive back and into the burst of acceleration through the seam or outside gives him so much to build from in the future and to dominate within the present. Furthermore, the creation of space with his speed, elusiveness, and fluidity through the motions adds to his already impressive blocking abilities, squaring up against some serious competition from the End positions at the NFLA. This is probably due to his newly found potential in the weight rooms, only discovering his athletic ability once joining the academy he has already reached the 100KG benchmark and is only improving rapidly.
The long-awaited stint with the Exiles was meant to be his breakthrough opportunity to put his name on the map, of course, COVID has put a delay on the eventuality of his domination and break down of UK defenses.
The special mindset of intensity and competitive nature will drive Henry up the rankings in Europe, he will have stiff competition with many of the best in Europe hailing from the Tight-end position. Alongside a very comparable competitive partner in Matthew Monaghan, the game in the UK is changing towards players with Henry’s skill set of untouchable routes, reliable hands through contact through the middle of the field, and relentless aggression in all aspects of his game, from the blocking to finishing the play thoroughly to gain the most yards.
As a UK representative, I will attend and follow any games in which Henry is competing, simply for the factor that we could be watching something special.
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