Former Washington Redskins running back Silas Redd.

Ex-NFL player sights on start in NRL

Move over Jarryd Hayne, there is a new NFL star on the NRL horizon.

Silas Redd, a former star US college running back who played 15 games for the Washington Redskins in 2014, is the latest innovative recruit by the Ipswich Jets and while his first assignment will be to play in the Intrust Super Cup next season he is determined to take the NRL by storm.

Ipswich Jets chairman Steven Johnson has in the past recruited players from US college football teams but none have come with the pedigree and athletic make-up of the 178cm and 96-kilogram Redd.

The 25-year-old paid his own way from the American mainland to line up for his first ever game of ruby league in Ipswich's exhibition game against Tweed Heads in Hawaii earlier this month and although the intensity of the game was foreign, Jets co-coach Ben Walker sees all the attributes needed for Redd to be a success.

Due to arrive in Australia for the start of pre-season training in late November, Redd will work closely with former Broncos and Queensland Origin winger Chris Walker on accelerating his rugby league education but Ben Walker says he showed enough in Hawaii to indicate he could make his Intrust Super Cup debut as early as Round 1.

"He's genuine, he's not just a college football player. He'll play NRL," Ben Walker told NRL.com.

"We've had college players before and they were close, one was actually 18th man two or three times. He was very close but this guy being ex-NFL, he's next level.

"You can tell that just looking at him. Silas is just that next level of athlete compared to what we've had come out from America before.

"If we can coach him and teach him what we know then there's no reason he can't play NRL.

"That's what he wants to do now. He has no desire to play NFL at all and he sees this as a real good challenge."

In his second year of college at Penn State Redd recorded 1,241 rushing yards – running for more than 100 yards in six of his 12 games – which was the third-most in the Big Ten Conference that season.

A year later he transferred to the famed USC Trojans program where he scored nine touchdowns, had 905 rushing yards and 113 receiving yards at an average of 12.6 yards per reception.

Ahead of the 2014 NFL Combine where he recorded a time of 4.7 seconds for the 40-yard dash, Redd was described as having a "yoked-up musculature and very good thickness", "subtly shifty and nimble enough to sidestep the first tackler" with "good leg drive" who "keeps churning on contact and is surprisingly strong for a smallish back". 


Currently on the NFL injured list after rupturing his ACL in the 2015 pre-season that effectively ended his NFL career, Redd's introduction to rugby league was a shock to the system but Ben has no doubt his brother Chris can transform the former Redskin from NFL to NRL star.

"He played the first quarter [in Hawaii], scored with his second touch and went really well," Walker said.

"Had a spew at quarter-time, he was absolutely wrecked. He said, 'I haven't run this much in all of my NFL games!' He was wrecked.

"He didn't even know who defended. He said, 'Who defends?' And we had to tell him that we all defend.

"He said, 'That's awesome, I've been looking forward to smashing some guys.'

"Chris directed him everywhere and told him what to do. He literally had no idea what to do but he went really well.

"For a bloke playing his first game, he had no fear, footwork was phenomenal, speed's good, strength's good.

"If he learns the craft quick enough then he can play Q Cup next year comfortably.

"For all of Chris's antics off the field he's actually got a really smart football brain so he'll do a lot of work with him and I'm certain he'll pick it up pretty quick.

"He'll play trial matches in first grade and if he goes well enough then there's no reason he can't play straight away."