Rugby Needs Jeremiah Masoli

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 31: Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli #8 of the Oregon Ducks tucks the ball and heads upfield in the second quarter of the game against the USC Trojans at Autzen Stadium on October 31, 2009 in Eugene, Oregon. Masoli threw for 222 yards and a touchdown and ran for 164 more yards with another score as Oregon defeated USC 47-20. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Matt ManleyContributor INovember 26, 2009

Let me state first and foremost: I am a Beaver. I don’t hate the Ducks everyday, just most days and especially during the Civil War.

After watching Oregon squeak past Arizona last week in double overtime, I got to thinking about how good Jeremiah Masoli is.

He has all the intangibles you could ask for in a college quarterback running the spread option offense. Great vision, can run, and throw a dart pass. He guided the Ducks in the closing minutes of the game with poise and confidence.

In spite of all of his tremendous upside, what does the NFL hold for Masoli? At 5’11” and 220, he is around the size of some NFL running backs. With a 475 lbs squat and 330 lbs bench press, no one is going to argue he isn’t strong enough. His 4.5 40 is fast enough, too.

You have to think that running back is just not good enough for a guy with Masoli’s brain. However, the NFL is not the place for athletic quarterbacks. The offenses are all structured around playing it safe; vanilla.

This is where rugby needs to make a play: Jeremiah Masoli needs to play rugby and USA Rugby needs to pay him to do so. His skill set would be perfect for rugby and the game would allow him to continue to use his skill set. The NFL we stymie Masoli as a creative footballer.

The concept that American college football players should be turned into rugby players is nothing new, but in the case of Masoli, it is a revelation.

First, consider his draft status. He might get drafted, then again he might not. If he does get drafted and he is selected low, the amount of many he commands diminishes with ever round. This puts his price tag in an area that rugby could reach. In other words, the price is right.

Second, Leadership. It’s something that Masoli has and the USA Eagles need. I don’t care if he doesn’t have experience playing rugby at a high level. He has played football in pressure situations in front of crowds the dwarf anything that any current Eagle has ever come close to. His skills would develop in time, but what he lacks in rugby skill, he makes up for in natural ability.

Lastly, just watch the kid play. Take the time to watch a Jeremiah Masoli running highlight and imagine a 10 or 12 on his back. Then ask yourself, can rugby afford not to at a shot at signing talent like that?

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