The man who introduced Jarryd Hayne to American Football says even he’s shocked by how natural the ex-Parramatta fullback looks on an NFL field.
Manly back-rower Justin Horo has been cheering on Hayne from 12,000km away as his former Eels teammate attempts to break into the San Francisco 49ers squad.
After breakout performance in his first two pre-season games, Hayne is on course to make the 49ers’ final 53-man roster and has shocked most pundits with his rapid progress in his new game.
Hayne received the spark of inspiration to chance his arm in the US while playing the Madden videogame.
Horo, an American Football buff, says he got Hayne hooked on the game and watched his interest grow from hobby to consuming passion.
“Like everyone I’m just surprised at how easy he’s picking up the game and he just looks natural over there already, swapping the ball into each hand and stiff-arming or palming people,” Horo said.
“He’s going pretty well. Hopefully he can make that 53-man squad.”
Horo has been in regular contact with Hayne in California and said his success is a result of his dedication and diligence.
He said the 27-year-old has spent most of his time with his head in the San Francisco playbook and it explains a lot of his rapid progress.
“Apart from playing Madden he had very little knowledge about the game (when he went to the US),” Horo said.
“A couple of times I tried to speak to him at night time and he was just exhausted. He’d trained from nine to three … and he’d spend four or five hours in the playbook.
“He’s done his work and is reaping the rewards.”
Horo admitted he didn’t think Hayne would be able to crack the NFL, but he’s now planning to travel to the US to watch him and has already hit him up for tickets.
“He went over there expecting to make it,” Horo said.
“That’s the sort of character and guy he is and it’s just water off a duck’s back and he’s supposed to be there.
“And good on him, that’s the confidence I suppose it takes.”