THE man who helped former NRL winger Peni Tagive secure a college football scholarship in the US says he believes the odds are heavily stacked against Jarryd Hayne making it in the NFL.
Paul Manera - the offensive coordinator for Australia's national gridiron team, the Outback, has helped nine prospects secure college contracts, as well as Tagive's scholarship at the renowned Baylor University.
Tagive, who had stints with the Tigers, Dragons and Roosters, is now rated a slim chance of playing for Baylor University after picking up an injury, but is still rated highly by coaches.
Manera, a former University of Hawaii player, has also helped Aussie hopefuls Adam Gotsis (Georgia Tech) and Scott Harding (the University of Hawaii) make it to the US.
He said he would be pleasantly surprised if Hayne played in the NFL next season.
The former Parramatta star is reportedly on the verge of signing a futures contract with an NFL club, with the Detroit Lions favourites to snare his signature.
Hayne's performances at a recent pro testing day, where he ran 4.53 seconds for 40 yards, generated plenty of interest with several NFL clubs requesting videos.
But Manera said the dual Dally M medallist would face some stern challenges.
"There are 1.1 million high school football players in the US, and only three in every 1000 go on to play division-one college football," Manera said.
"So it's ridiculously competitive over there.
"Jarryd is a tremendous athlete, but the big test for him will be learning 'football IQ' against guys who have played the game their whole lives.
"I don't think Jarryd is ignorant to these facts though - I think he understands he needs to work hard on understanding the game."
While Hayne's dream of making the transition from the NRL to the NFL has attracted plenty of media attention in Australia and even the US, Outback head coach John Leijten said he believed some of the players in his squad could go on to high college levels in the US.
Leijten has just finalised his squad for July's Gridiron World Championship in the US after a training camp on the Gold Coast, singling out Gold Coast Stingrays wide receiver Matt Riles for a special mention.
"Matt ran the 40 yards in 4.56 seconds, and he is good enough to play college football at some level," Leijten said.
Leijten also said the standard of gridiron players in Australia was steadily improving, adding the Outback (ranked 11th) was aiming to beat France (ranked seventh) and South Korea (eighth) at the World Championship.