They’re no Alabama, Oregon, or Florida State. They’re a team from the American Athletic Conference, which is one of the weakest conferences in Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.
So when it comes to recruiting the nation’s top athletes, they have to get creative. And why not choose rugby athletes as future student-athletes?
SMU head coach June Jones has been known for successfully converting track and field athletes into some of the college game’s top players, like Margus Hunt. Hunt was a former shot putter turned second round NFL draft pick in 2013.
While Jones has found success in transforming track and field athletes into football superstars, the American Athletic Conference soon wants to shift his attention towards recruiting rugby players. Jones currently has his heart set on ruggers from South Africa, according to NBCDFW.
“I do have a little bit of a track record and can identify an athlete and a guy that might be able to do what we need him to do in three or four years,” Jones told NBCDFW.
We’ve seen this strategy in the past with players like Hayden Smith, who was once a tight end on the New York Jets, but it has never really panned out at the professional level. However, one could believe that this could be a good strategy for the collegiate game.
Ideally a rugger coming to the States from South Africa could have five years of eligibility, if they were to redshirt their first season. That redshirt season could be spent on just learning about the game and the right techniques to use in order to be most successful. Something that will favor these ruggers is that they’ll have no prior bad habits that they will need to break for their high school years. These players could learn the game more quickly and in the long run be very successful football players.
What do you think RWU readers?!?
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