Many people fail to realize that not all NFL players are found in football stadiums. Some, like Nico Dantzler, are found playing a sport that involves no helmets at all.
Dantzler, a 6’4″ and three hundred sixty-pound rugby player, did not go unnoticed when he attended Ole Miss’s recent pro day. Dantzler was late to the event, and was only able to watch the crowds as they swarmed the Ole Miss faculties.
Dantzler was soon greeted by a representative from the Cincinnati Bengals, who was drawn to Dantzler’s size. Dantzler was in shock with no expectations of drawing any type of looks from the NFL scouts.
“I was told the pro day was a closed event, so I really didn’t think any of the scouts would be actually be seen by the public,” he said.
The scout began to ask Dantzler if he had any agency representing him. He also asked Dantzler if he had any film that he could review. Dantzler informed the scout of his career in rugby and explained that a lot of his practice footage was online.
“I had heard of rugby players being recruited, so I figured my rugby film would give him some idea of how physical I can be,” he said.
Dantzler is not the first Rugby player who has been sought out by the NFL. In March of 2015, Australian Rugby player Jarryd Hayne, signed a contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Hayne was guaranteed $100,000 in his deal with the 49ers, but acknowledged that it wasn’t a safe deal. Hayne was active in seven games and has recently been released by the 49ers.
Kelsey Charette, a marketing consultant for Granite Sports Agency, is working with several athletes who have aspirations to play in the NFL.
“Your highlight reel is the base of your recruiting. Once you have a reel, you use that to lure sports agencies into representing you,” she said. “I am always looking at film of athletes that need representation. There are tons of athletes with NFL talent, a lot of them never receive the representation that they need.”
Dantzler is currently in contact with three sports agencies. “That scout really gave me a lot of hope in my future as a football player,” he said. “I’ll continue to play Rugby for the school and soon enough, I’ll get my chance.”
Dantzler will join the Rugby team next week as they take on Arkansas in their last match of the season.
William Christopher Frigo is a broadcast major at Meek School of Journalism and New Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.