New York Jets running backs coach Jim Bob Cooter has described Valentine Holmes as a unique, intelligent talent "ahead of the curve" in his transition from the NRL to NFL.
The glowing review comes as Holmes competes during the Jets' off-season program in the hope of securing opportunities in pre-season games and possibly snaring a place on the team's 53-man roster for the upcoming NFL regular season.
The former Cronulla Sharks backline ace faces an uphill battle, but former NRL star Jarryd Hayne proved it was possible when he achieved the feat in 2015 with the San Francisco 49ers.
"I tell you what, Valentine is a unique guy," Cooter told reporters at the Jets practice facility.
"He's an intelligent guy.
"He's picking it up well.
"He showed up here and he was ahead of where I thought he would be."
If Holmes, a member of the NFL International Pathway program, fails to make the 53-man roster he could still remain with the Jets as a member of the practice squad.
He can train with the team, but would not be eligible to play regular season games.
Cooter said Holmes had "physical ability" and was "out there working hard, getting reps".
"Guys that are moving from one sport to another, sometimes it takes them a little bit of time to totally get comfortable with the different sport, but I would say he's ahead of the curve," the coach said.
"He's learning things well and we're excited to work with him."
Holmes told ESPN he hopes "to put on a show and play well".
The 23-year-old Queenslander may have been one of the biggest names in rugby league, but in the Jets' locker room his background apparently was not well known.
Holmes said fellow running back Ty Montgomery was surprised to discover his NRL resume.
"He said, 'I didn't know you were that good in Australia'," Holmes told ESPN.
"He was pretty shocked at where I came from to where I am now.
"He's pretty pumped for me to see how it goes."