Tyrese Johnson-Fisher from London will make history as the first player based outside of the United States to play in the Under Armour All America High School Football Game in January 2018 on the game’s 10th anniversary.
Alumni of the game include two Number 1 overall NFL draft picks, now Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston selected in 2015 played in the game in 2012 following the appearance a year earlier of 2014 number 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. Pro Bowl Receivers Julio Jones and A.J. Green are among other notable names.
TJ as he’s known at Oakham School where he studies A Level Business, Economics and History hopes to follow in the footsteps on Jay Ajayi. While the Philidelphia Eagles Running back moved to Maryland when he was seven years old, TJ sees similarities between them “we both have dreads and we’re both from similar backgrounds. “
The prospects athletic prowess isn’t in doubt, an academy player at Leicester Tigers Rugby Union club the video of him playing for the Oakham School U15 team he captained at the Natwest Schools U15 Vase final released by England Rugby Union in 2015 quickly went viral.
Last year he won the 60 metre National Indoor Finals with a time of 6.89 seconds, that’s equivalent to a time of 4.19 in the NFL combine 40 yard dash and to put that into context the current record of the 40 at the combine is held by John Ross who set 4.22 seconds in Indianapolis this year.
“I watch the NFL and like guys like Bell and Adrian Peterson. I’d love to meet Jay Ajay” TJ told me as we chatted about how he got into the sport. Oakham where TJ spends four days a week is a rural village in the smallest county in the UK Rutland, hardly a hotbed of Gridiron action.
London on the other hand host the NFL International Series and an opportunity to experience the game first hand “I queued for tickets to the Vikings game and Cardinals game, I saw the Dolphins on the TV and the reception for Jay Ajayi. I hope I can get that one day.”
The future looks bright for Tyrese after representatives from the sponsors of the event, Under Armour and American Family Insurance flew over to the UK to host a special presentation in front of his family, fellow students and staff at Oakham School this morning.
Posting potentially record setting numbers combined with the toughness and ball carrying ability Rugby requires might well see TJ follow in the footsteps of other alumni of the game in the 2020 NFL Draft.