College Sport Student Touchdown to Success
A Coventry teenager who has played rugby since the age of six has been selected amongst the best young American football players in the country – despite kicking off just six months ago.
Coventry College student Jack Redhead has been named in the Under-17 Great Britain American football team after impressing top coaches at a trial at Bristol University.
Jack, who is studying a level 3 extended diploma in sport at Coventry College and continues to play rugby regularly, has used his skills and experience as a flanker in the English game to manage a steep learning curve and show his potential in the American sport.
Youth team coaches across UK were invited to put players forward for a trial at Bristol University, a leading university for American football, as part of the British American Football Association’s Great Britain Junior Programme.
Around 170 players were then split into offence and defence, with Jack showing the attributes of a line backer – a defensive position that requires strength, speed and concentration to predict plays, block offensive runners and intercept passes.
He is due to take part in his first GB Under-17 training session alongside fellow prospects from across the country in the new year ahead of international fixtures taking place in 2022.
Jack said: “It was a real shock to learn that I had been selected as there were so many other high-quality players at the trial, but I am absolutely delighted and it was a great feeling to share the news with my family and friends.
“I have played rugby for over 10 years but only started watching American football around a year ago and the interest grew from there. I’d thought about playing for a while and my dad was the one who really pushed me to give it a go this summer.
“There is a lot to learn on the technical side of things as well as footwork and tactical positioning, but I can’t wait to link up with the team and get started. My coach has said I’m physically and mentally where I need to be so I’m full of confidence that I can carry on showing my potential.”
Jack, who is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, played rugby for Barkers Butts RFC in Coventry for 10 years in a very successful squad until joining college and starting to play American football.
He continues to represent Coventry College’s Rugby Education Programme side against colleges across the country whilst playing American football locally with Tamworth Phoenix Under-19s.
He added: “At the moment I want to stay heavily involved in both sports. My coaches at college have been really supportive and are helping me to learn about nutrition and fitness, which is really important for rugby and football, while me and my classmates have a great time playing rugby together at a really good level.”
Pete Glackin, Head of Rugby at Coventry College, said “Jack has settled into the Coventry College Rugby Education study programme extremely well and put some fantastic performances together with his rugby union team.
“We are extremely proud of Jack’s selection for the Under-17 Great Britain American football squad and will look to support him with his journey.”