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[ODDS and EVENS] Yosuke Sugano Continues Pursuit of Football Dream

After two seasons at Syracuse University, Yosuke Sugano is preparing to play for the X League's Obic Seagulls. He aims to play in the CFL and NFL in the future.

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Yosuke Sugano
Former Syracuse University linebacker Yosuke Sugano (31) plays in the 2023 Boca Raton Bowl against the University of South Florida. (Courtesy of Yosuke Sugano)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [ODDS and EVENS] Yosuke Sugano Continues Pursuit of Football Dream

For Yosuke Sugano, playing in the NFL is his ultimate dream as an American football player.

To achieve his goal, Sugano says he recognizes that hard work and improvement are important, interconnected tasks.

Sugano wrapped up his American college football career as a Syracuse University linebacker on December 21, 2023, appearing in the Boca Raton Bowl against the University of South Florida. The Hyogo Prefecture native had two tackles and a sack in a 45-0 loss.

Although the Syracuse Orange football season ended in a disappointing fashion, Sugano, 25, accomplished a major goal in his two seasons at the upstate New York school: getting a chance to practice and play (he appeared in a combined five games in 2022 and '23) at the highest level of American college football.

Syracuse is one of 134 National College Athletic Association (NCAA) teams making up the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.

Sugano also participated in Syracuse's Pro Day on March 18 at the university's Ensley Athletic Center. It was an opportunity for seven ex-Orange football players along with selected former players from smaller schools in the region to be evaluated by scouts from nearly all of the NFL's 32 teams. 

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Players participated in standardized drills that measure their speed, strength and agility. They also took part in specific drills for their individual positions.

A total of 257 players were selected in the seven-round NFL Draft on April 25-27 in Detroit ― and there were thousands of draft-eligible players. 

Yosuke Sugano
Linebacker Yosuke Sugano participated in Syracuse's Pro Day on March 18. NFL scouts tested players in a variety of drills to measure their overall speed, strength and agility. (Photo courtesy of Yosuke Sugano)

Yosuke Sugano Returns to Japan as a Player

So what's next for Sugano as a football player?

In a series of short interviews with Odds and Evens in recent days, Sugano outlined his plans and aspirations for 2024 and beyond.

First up: Sugano aims to become an impactful player for the X League's Obic Seagulls

He's expected to make his debut in Japan's top-level American football league in the Pearl Bowl Tournament in June. The Pearl Bowl Tournament final is set for June 16 at Fujitsu Stadium Kawasaki.

Look for Sugano, who is 5-foot-10 (178 cm), to line up at both linebacker and defensive end for Obic.

Indeed, productivity on the field during games is important to him. He also noted that Syracuse's Pro Day in March was a valuable experience that revealed what should be a primary focus of his workouts: aiming to increase his speed.

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Yosuke Sugano
Lifting weights was a regular part of Yosuke Sugano's training regimen during his two years at Syracuse University. (Photo courtesy of Yosuke Sugano)

Focus on Getting Faster in the 40-Yard Dash

Specifically, Sugano acknowledged his time in the 40-yard dash (5.1 seconds for the 36.5-meter test of speed) doesn't presently match the high standards of the Canadian Football League and the NFL.

"I will try to focus on my 40 [-yard] time this year, so that I will have a chance to get drafted next year," Sugano said, referring to the CFL.

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.

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Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven