Friends, supporters and family gathered to congratulate Israel “Izzy” Abanikanda, a former member of Brooklyn United Football who was recently drafted by the New York Jets.
“Everybody jumped for joy as Izzy’s name was called and people started to hug him,'' said Adam Howard Jr. who attended the draft celebration for Abanikanda on April 29 at Lincoln High School. The two have been best friends since age 10.
At age 12 Abanikanda was a running back for Brooklyn United, a 10 year-old football team located in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
Adam Howard, manager of the community football team and Abanikanda's former mentor, foresaw his greatness on the field.
“I could see that he would go far because of his speed as a running back,” said Howard of the 5th round pick.
This prediction was echoed in an article from College Football News.
“He’s got the flash in a good compact frame. Ultra-productive last year for Pitt, he proved he could handle a bigger workload – he ran for 320 yards and 6 touchdowns on Virginia Tech,” as stated on the site.
Abanikanda, who played football at University of Pittsburgh, is now practicing at Floyd Patterson Field before his NFL debut in September.
For more information on Brooklyn United Football League, visit them online.
Michael Howard contributed to the reporting for this article.