Atlanta Falcons’ Zimbabwe-born star Nate Landman making his mark in NFL

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    Nate Landman made a difference in the Atlanta Falcons' win over the Houston Texans

    By Daniel Nhakaniso


    Manchester – Zimbabwe-born Nate Landman is enjoying a memorable start to his career in National Football League (NFL) in the US after playing another telling role defensively to help the Atlanta Falcons edge the Houston Texans 21-19 in a tight encounter on Sunday.

    Landman, who is filling in for the injured Troy Andersen, continues to shine in an increased role and on Sunday he recorded seven tackles to inspire his team’s win over the Texans.

    The 24-year-old linebacker, who was born in Harare, Zimbabwe, has barely put a foot wrong for the Falcons this season and his 16 tackles in his last two games have justified his growing role in the defensive unit in his second NFL season.

    Landman has played nearly every defensive snap for his team as he continues to make a strong case for a continued key role for the Atlanta Falcons in the absence of Andersen who is expected to miss around four to six months of action.

    It’s been a remarkable rise for Landman, who was born on November 19, 1998 in Harare, Zimbabwe.

    He hails from a sporting family as his father, Shaun, who earned 13 caps for Zimbabwe’s flagship rugby side, the Sables a lock from 1993 to 1998.

    Atlanta Falcons linebacker Nate Landman celebrates with his teammates. The Zimbabwe-born star is enjoying a solid start to the season in the NFL

    Landman’s family later moved to the United States, and they settled in Danville, California, when he was three years old.

    This proved to be a good move for the highly-athletic Nate and his brother Brendan, who played American football for Arizona State University in 2014 as a freshman, and his sister Ocean Trail was a swimmer at Oregon State University.

    Nate attended Monte Vista High School, where he played baseball, rugby and American football and it was in the latter, where he excelled the most.

    Nate proved to be a force in high school football. In his senior year, Landman led Monte Vista in a state playoff run.

    He was the East Bay Athletic League MVP and was awarded All-NorCal High School Football Team by MaxPreps and East Bay Defensive Player of the Year by the San Jose Times.

    Linebacker Nate Landman #53 of the Colorado Buffaloes runs onto the field during a ceremony to honor graduating seniors before a game against the Washington Huskies at Folsom Field on November 20, 2021 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

    Landman also made it to all district and state teams for his final two seasons. After his impressive high school career, he was ranked as the 5th-best linebacker and 57th-best player in the state of California by ESPN.

    In 2017, he was enrolled at the University of Colorado and furthered his football career there. He became the first player in program history to earn all-conference honours at least four times with the Colorado Buffaloes from 2017 to 2020.

    He was able to strike a fine balance between his successful football career and academics, and he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Marketing.

    A shoulder injury limited Landman in 2021 but Pac-12 (lower league) coaches still voted him second-team all-conference (63 tackles, six for loss, four pass breakups in seven starts).

    Landman signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent on May 2 last year, and he made the Falcons’ initial 53-man roster out of training camp for the upcoming NFL 2022-2023 season

    After his successful college career, Landman’s path to the NFL was not straightforward as he was only signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent back in May last year  after he somehow missed the draft.

    The move saw him becoming only the second Zimbabwean to play in the NFL after Stansly Maponga, the defensive lineman drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

     

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