12, 24, 48… hut hut! American Football star Deejay Ogunkolati joins the HÖRFA family


London Blitz lineman Deejay joins the HÖRFA family

 

30-year-old Deejay Ogunkolati is a longstanding player of five-time Britbowl champions, London Blitz American Football Club.

The 30-year-old American Football player has become the latest superstar to join the HÖRFA Family, following world title contender Ashley Theophane and reigning British middleweight champion Denzel Bentley.

Born in Hammersmith in 1990, Deejay grew up in West London and works as a Web Operations and Development Manager.

12 years after first picking up the laced spheroid, he revealed just how he got into American Football, “It’s a weird story actually; since I was a kid, I always had a stocky build and everyone pushed me towards rugby, but it’s not my cup of tea – the cauliflower ears, the gouging… I took part in a couple of try-outs, but always been a soccer man. I’ve always been able to move well for my size, and I went on to play for semi-pro football teams.

“I didn’t actually know we played American Football in this country; I didn’t even know that leagues existed until I went to Brunel University to study Computer Science.

“There was a freshers fair, where everyone is campaigning for students to join their uni teams. I naturally joined the soccer union, then saw the stand for American Football.

“Brunel didn’t have a team at the time but were campaigning to enter a team for the BUCS league. I then found out there was a huge university league and decided to become one of the founding members of establishing the team.

“That first year we didn’t play, we spent all our time lobbying to get the team established, trying to get scholarships and just this whole big campaign to create the Brunel Burners. In the second year, we finally played our first game and it was a total shitshow!” He laughed out loud as he looked back on his days as a rookie.

“I think we played Royal Holloway Bears and the score was 6-5 – we won. There were false starts, illegal formations; it was all over the place and no one knew what they were doing! But it was great because imagine a whole year of building up and working so hard, then playing the first game and knowing you had a hand in creating it all.”

Now, the university graduate has achieved so much more in the 151-year-old sport, playing in front of thousands of passionate fans regularly and claiming 11 caps for Great Britain.

“I’ve never boasted about who I am even though I have reached the pinnacle of American Football in the UK – I won Britbowl, got 11 caps for Great Britain in the European A league,” he humbly listed. “I prefer to go under the radar, I don’t really have social media, I don’t shout out too much about it.”

After uni, the naturally talented scholar progressed from the Burners to the Blitz, “I have played for London Blitz for over a decade now. I’m a defensive lineman, although I initially started out as an offensive lineman. I switched sides four years ago, but I can play both.”

London Blitz are one of Britain’s most successful American Football teams as five-time BritBowl winners, totalling seven divisional titles, as well as being crowned European Champions in 2011. Formed in 1995, the play at Finsbury Park Stadium, which is also home to British baseball team, the London Mets.

Deejay went on to explain his important role at the club, “My job is to stop the opposition from scoring, and I do that but either stopping the running back trying to get to the end zone, or by stopping the person trying to throw the ball, so I have to beat the offensive lineman, which people call the ‘O-Line’.”

American Football is played on a 100-yard field by two teams of 11 players at one time, but there’s three sets of those players, comprising of defence, offence, and a special team.

The aim of the game is to move the ball into the opponent’s end zone for six points, scoring a field goal provides an extra three points, quite similar to rugby.

This is achieved by running the ball down the field via a series of plays or downs. They can do this by passing the ball through the air from quarterback to receiver or by a running back carrying the ball and moving forward along the ground.

The offense must move the ball forward at least 10 yards every fourth play in order to keep possession of the ball and earn another four plays to advance towards the end zone.

If the defence prevent the offense making those 10 yards then the team with the ball must kick the ball to the other team or, if close enough, attempt to score a goal by drop kicking through the upright posts.

Deejay himself gave this very concise description of the game, then listed all his sporting heroes, “Players I always looked up to, because I started off as offensive lineman, were the likes of Joe Thomas and Jason Peters – both top offensive linemen.

“Then, when I switched over to the other side, I realised my skillset was more suited to defensive lineman because of how explosive I am, so now I like Aron Donald; Shaq Barrett; Cameron Heywood; Fletcher Cox… all these guys are brilliant and have been beastly at their position for so long, and I constantly watch their tricks all the time.”

Moving seamlessly from football to fashion, Deejay then discussed what it is he likes so much about HÖRFA that led to this collaboration, “I was really impressed with the brand because the concepts are very different. I can definitely see the Scandinavian influence running through the brand.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with HÖRFA, and I was really impressed with their credentials, such as working with New York Jets star Jamal Adams. I like the family theme because it’s close to my heart. I’m a family man and we are like a family at the club, and at my place of work too.

“I’m a big fan of the sweatshirts. They’re all so original but all different. I do like the jackets too, the Bomber Jacket in particular, but the Varsity Jackets are also very stylish.”

Our newest family member then concluded with a message for anyone interested in American Football in the UK, “If you want to get into the sport, it’s really easy. There is a BAFA website which governs the sport, so just Google it and all the local teams will pop right away. Every team has a website and it’s becoming really popular in this country now.”

Good luck to Deejay for the forthcoming season, from all at HÖRFA!

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