NFL outfit Baltimore Ravens have signed James Madison University Sociology student and Defensive Lineman John Daka. Daka, at only 22, becomes the first Zambian player to join an NFL team.
Daka, who is 1.91m (6’3) and 104 kgs (230 pounds), decided to concentrate on American Football because he felt his height disadvantaged any basketball ambitions he had. This also affected some of the scholarships he was offered in American Football — until, that is, he began accumulating highlight-reel sacks, catching the attention of schools that initially had shown only passing interest.
However Daka had already fully committed to James Madison and wasn’t about to disregard the program that ensured his recruitment a priority rather than an afterthought.
In 2019, along two other teammates, Daka was named in the 2019 Athlon Sports Postseason All-America Team. He was also named the Charles Haley Defensive MVP and took home the award.
Daka registered one of the most dominant seasons on the line in school history, setting the JMU single-season record with 16.5 sacks on his way to being a STATS FCS First Team All-American and Buck Buchanan Award finalist. He tallied 27.5 sacks for his career, which is fourth-best all-time for the Dukes.
The Upper Marlboro, Md., native had 67 tackles to go with 28.0 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and 13 QB hurries. He led the country in total sacks and tackles for loss, ranking third nationally in TFLs per game (1.8) and fifth in sacks per outing (1.03). Daka recorded at least one sack in nine games and two or more tackles for loss eight times.
NFL is almost a non existent sport in his native country but this achievement will definitely be a proud moment for the whole country as he will start to gain a new following and fan base when the football season begins. Daka has three brothers, Golden, Anderson and Andre, and one sister, Ariana.
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Written by: @FirstZambian