Senior linebacker Psalm Wooching led the Washington Huskies in sacks in 2016 with six sacks. He was expected to have some stock in this April’s NFL Draft as a late round prospect.
However, Wooching has announced he has different plans now. Thursday night he announced via Twitter that he will be trading in his “shoulder pads for shorts and boots.” Wooching will be pursuing a career in rugby instead of heading for the NFL.
Via his twitter account Wooching said, “I’ve been in deep thought and prayer about whether I wanted to continue to play football and I’ve come to a conclusion that it is time to turn the page in my life. I will be exchanging shoulder pads for short shorts and rugby boots … It’s time for me to follow my heart … My goal is to be able to represent my country while playing rugby and then on to playing in the next Olympics.”
Wooching has played rugby before. As he said in his post, “My first love and sport that I’ve excelled in was rugby.”
In high school, Wooching played for the U.S. rugby junior national team. In 2014, he helped lead Washington’s club rugby team to a national championship.
As far as football goes, Wooching started off with the Huskies as a fullback but was moved to outside linebacker where he drove up his draft stock. As a first time starter his senior year, he settled in as a linebacker and had NFL scouts intrigued, however Psalm has different plans.
Rugby is a growing sport in the United States. NFL players have made the crossover to the sport before. Super Bowl champion and New England Patriots safety Nat Ebner grew up playing rugby before he pursued an NFL career. He was granted a release from the Patriots so that he could play for Team USA in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Jarryd Hayne, former San Francisco 49ers running back, retired from the NFL this offseason to participate in the Olympics as well.