Yeah, you read it right. Bamidele ‘Bam’ Onaseni, a 6-foot-8, 339 pound, 26-year-old offensive tackle from London has been signed as a free agent to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Bam started his football career at 17 years old playing for the London Blitz U19 team. He then moved on to Kansas to play for JUCO powerhouse Garden City Community College in 2017. At Garden City, Bam was named first-team NJCAA All-American as a sophomore in 2018, also earning first-team all-KJCCC.
Bam became a 4-star prospect by 247Sports and Rivals, rated the No. 9 JUCO offensive tackle in the nation. He received offers from Ohio State, Texas, Ole Miss, Minnesota, and Tennessee among others.
In 2019 Bam signed for the Utah Utes where was redshirted but saw action in two games (Washington, Arizona), starting at right tackle against Washington.
In 2020, he played in all five games on special teams.
Then in 2021, the Utes released the beast and Bam saw action in all 14 games (starting 10 at LT and 1 at RT). He earned placement on the Sporting News All-America second-team and the Pac-12 All-Conference second-team.
During the NFL combine he recorded a 5.43 40 time, 26″ vertical, 8’0″ broad, 5.02 short shuttle, and 8.25 three-cone. His 88 3/8″ wingspan is now the largest in the NFL.
Bam’s Draft Scouting report states “The team selecting Olaseni or signing him as an undrafted free agent must understand he won’t be ready to play in Year 1 — or Year 2 for that matter. At 26, that means he won’t see the field until he is 27 or 28, which is not what you want from a rookie. Regardless, the physical tools are there to mold Olaseni into a solid swing tackle or even starter at the peak of his variance. That’s worth a late-round flier or practice-squad stash at the very least.”
Bam is quite literally living the dream of thousands of young players across the globe, and more importantly, in the UK. He is showing that you can make it from the UK to the NFL and that the UK is a great place to nurture young talent.
One of the things I personally love about his story is that he leveraged the opportunity on Special Teams to make his way into a starting spot. Another British player, in the CFL, David Izinyon has been doing the exact same thing at the Hamilton Tigercats. With David being a Linebacker and Bam being an Olineman, it shows that this strategy is one that can successfully apply to anyone on either side of the ball.