Pupils at Exmouth Community College have had a lesson in sport and achievement from a former NFL star.

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Cecil Martin, who played at fullback for the Philadephia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and is now a Sky Sports pundit, visited the college to see its Raptors American football programme.

However, it wasn’t all about on-field action for Cecil, as he started the day giving motivational talks to the college’s other students – giving a post 16 assembly advice on how to achieve their goals, and stopping off to inspire PE, business studies and English classes.

After lunch, Cecil took training sessions with the college’s full-contact and flag football Raptors, then met other NFL coaches from across Devon and Cornwall.

Cecil said: “I got to spend the day speaking to many of the students at the school, and I was impressed with the kids themselves and the facilities – it’s been an unbelievable day.

“I then came out to spend time with the team, because they’re a team committed to getting better and because of [teacher and Raptors coach] Rob Rooksby and his passion for helping kids get better.

“I saw this opportunity as a way to really support someone who is trying to do things the right way.”

Cecil, who works with the Football University (FBU) programme through NCSA athletic recruiting, says he hopes programmes like the college’s will get more young people involved in sport, and perhaps one day recruited to university sides in the UK – with the British University American Football League (BUAFL) - and the USA.

Coach Rooksby said: “I cannot express enough my gratitude for Coach Martin to come down to Exmouth to support our small but growing American football programme.

“Giving up so much of his time to one club or institution is unprecedented but shows that he understands what the college is trying to do by expanding and developing the sport of American football and not just the ‘NFL dream’.

“I have never seen one person influence so many students and staff alike in such a short space of time.”

Coach Rooksby also thanked the sport’s national governing body BAF, and in particular its director of student football, Andy Fuller, for their support in getting the programme off the ground.

Cecil will be appearing on Sky Sports’ NFL coverage throughout the season, and can be followed on Twitter @CecilMartin1.

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