There is no stopping in recruiting. Not only in the amount of time college coaches spend trying to bring the best high school football players to their school, but in where they are willing to go to find such players.
And that doesn’t change even if such players don’t play high school football, at least not as we know it.
Enter Baylor’s newest recruit, 24 year old Peni Tagive, who plays Australian rugby but gave up the sport last year to give American football a try.
It’s not hard after looking at his rugby highlight tape to see what Baylor and other coaches saw. He’s 6’4”, physical, and can run like the wind. And even though rugby isn’t American style football, it’s easy to see the similarities between the two sports.
Baylor has Playstation and Madden football to thank for turning Tagive onto the game. "Almost immediately, I was hooked," he says. "It was through the game that I really picked up the sport, the rules, really started taking a much closer interest in the NFL.
He then got hooked up with Paul Manera, a former player at Hawaii who started to teach him the game along with preparing him academically to clear the hurdles necessary to get a chance for entrance into college in the United States.
Manera also introduced him to Baylor assistant Brian Norwood and the courtship began. He visited campus in Waco and soon after, a scholarship offer was on the table.
According to the press release, he’ll give either linebacker or wide receiver a try but it’s hard to envision Art Briles not giving him a long hard look at receiver before anything else. But then thing is, the fact that he could probably player either linebacker or wide receiver is another factor that only adds to the intrigue surrounding him. How many wide receivers do you know that could flip to the other side of the ball and play linebacker? It’s a short list, to be sure.
Who knows where his career at Baylor will take him. He for one knows he has a long way to go to learn a game most of the players around him have been playing their entire life. "There is still so much I have to learn but this is something I've been dreaming about for a couple of years now,” Tagive said.
He’s set to arrive on campus this summer and he won’t be the only Australian on Baylor’s roster, either. Briles and company had already landed Hawaii offensive line transfer, Blake Muir, who will bring his brother, Sean, to Waco with him. Blake will sit out this season to satisfy transfer rules, while Sean is expected to greyshirt and join the program in January, 2014.
(H/T to coachingsearch.com for the video of Tagive)