NFL 2016 Preseason Panthers’ Aussie offensive lineman believes interest in Australian player will increase
Stanford Cardinal guard David Yankey (54) celebrates with fans after the game against the Oregon Ducks at Stanford Stadium. Reuters - Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Australian David Yankey, who is looking to have a fresh start with North Carolina Panthers, believe that the NFL’s interest in Australian players will only go up.

Foxsports reports that Yankey said that Jarryd Hayne gave a big boost to the interest in Australian players when he was still playing for the San Francisco 49ers. He said that “it kind of stinks” that Hayne will no longer continue his NFL career, “but clearly he proved that he was capable" of playing in this league and "doing good things for the Niners.”

“But as the number [of Australians playing NFL] continues to increase, you’ll see more interest and I hope that trend continues,” he said. “Kind of like how there’s a good amount of Australian basketball players in the NBA, hopefully, we have the same kind of trend with football.”

Along with Tom Hackett and Lachlan Edwards of the New York Jets, Brad Wing of the New York Giants, Jordan Berry of the Pittsburg Steelers, Adam Gotsis of the Denver Broncos and Blake Muir of the 49ers, Yankey joins seven Australians who are entering the NFL training camp with their respective teams this week. This is the most representation that Australia had in the league at this point of a season.

The NFL and college football are already continuing to look internationally for talent.

ABC reported last May that American football scouts are actually increasing their attention to younger athletes in Australia. This is following a successful cohort of draft-eligible Australians in 2016. Melbourne-born Gotsis headlined Australia’s draft cohort. He was picked by the Broncos in the second round, the highest ever Australian to be picked in the draft.

The Jets picked Edwards in the seventh round then signed Hackett shortly after he was passed over in the draft. Sydney’s offensive lineman Mui joined the 49ers as an unrestricted free agent.