CHICAGO, IL – With the NFL Draft just days away, it’s time to turn our attention to a former BYU rugger giving professional football a shot – Paul Lasike.
Lasike, who played four years of rugby for the Cougars, was a walk-on turned captain for the university’s football team. And with the draft starting on Thursday, the dual-sport athlete has the ability to achieve his dream – begin his NFL career.
“I believe that I have what it takes to compete at that level at least physically, and an opportunity is all is need,” Lasike said to Scott Porter of New Era Scouting back in March. “I hope to get a shot and will go all out to try and make some eyes turn.”
Even though Lasike played fullback during his time at BYU, the Aukland, New Zealand native isn’t the average fullback prospect. With his background in rugby, Lasike offers more to perspective NFL teams than just good run blocking technique. Lasike has good hands and ball skills, which is not often found in NFL fullbacks.
“As a fullback my catching and turning up field to gain yards,” Lasike said. “I also have the ability to contribute on any special teams.”
While it’s likely Lasike will go undrafted, he should field a good amount of phone calls for invites to rookie mini-camps.
And with Jarryd Hayne’s emergence into the NFL earlier this spring, the door is open for ruggers like Lasike. And according to Bleacher Report, the former BYU fullback has received some interest from some NFL clubs.
“The 49ers signed Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne last month. BYU rugby star Paul Lasike, who was considered for New Zealand’s prestigious All Blacks team, is also drawing NFL interest after playing some fullback for the Cougars. The NFL is full of tight ends who saw themselves as small forwards in college, not to mention foreign-born players like Margus Hunt who came to football by way of sports like shot-putting and Raiders lineman Menelik Watson, who played soccer and basketball before being introduced to football in 2010.”
It’ll be interesting to see what’s next for Lasike and his NFL future. And if by chance he doesn’t make an NFL roster, the dual-sport athlete can always go back to rugby.
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