We’ve seen some former college basketball players make the switch to tight end in the NFL, now we’ll see if a rugby player can make the same transition.
Hayden Smith, an Australian who plays rugby in England, has signed with the Jets according to Tim Brewster, the former University of Minnesota head coach who has been training him to make the transition. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News passes along Brewster’s report along with word that the Jets haven’t confirmed the signing.
Smith is 6’6″ and 265 pounds and has also played for the U.S. national rugby team. Like Gates and Jimmy Graham, Smith played college basketball in the U.S. before turning to rugby. Brewster, who also worked with Gates before Gates hit the professional ranks, tweeted that he thinks Smith has great upside.
We’ve seen Australian Rules football players transition to the NFL before as punters, but Smith’s move is very different. Should the Jets wind up back on Hard Knocks this summer, Smith’s transition should make for a non-Tebow storyline.