Essendon To Sign US College Quarterback
Wednesday, November 23 2016 @ 03:45 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
Tom Morris from Fox Sports reports that Essendon will be looking closely at gambling on an untried American footballer as a Category B rookie, and could know very soon as they prepare for their selections at this week’s national draft. It would be one of the first times Essendon has travelled down the American road for potential recruits, hoping they can find another Jason Holmes.
ESSENDON is poised to take a punt on little known American football player Travis Wilson.
Wilson, who was a quarterback with scrambling ability for the University of Utah Utes in the US college system for four years, has attracted interest from the Bombers despite having never travelled to Australia, let alone Melbourne.
It’s believed his athleticism is the trait that first caught the eye of Essendon’s international recruiting network.
At 200cm and 105kg, the 24-year-old signed on with the North Coast Heat in Australia’s National Gridiron League late in 2015, although in January it was announced that the competition would not go ahead in 2016 due to a variety of Visa and venue problems.
As a result, Wilson never arrived in Australia to compete in the fledgling league.
After his college career finished, Wilson had a tryout with the Cincinnati Bengals, but it’s understood he has now set his sights on a Category B rookie spot with Essendon.
The Bombers have shown keen interest in the would-be ruckman, sending him apparel and footballs to train with ahead of a potential move to Melbourne, as seen in his below Instagram post from earlier this week.
The club has asked him to send it video footage of him kicking and marking.
Wilson broke a host of records while at Utah, including most starts (39), games played (46) and total touchdowns (75 – 54 passing, 21 rushing).
He suffered a heavy concussion that revealed pre-existing brain artery conditions that, at the time, almost ended his football career completely.
Some recent examples of clubs signing Category B rookies are Mark Blicavs at Geelong, Alex Keath at Adelaide and Jason Holmes at St Kilda.
A club can contract up to three Category B rookies, provided the player either:
— Has not registered in an Australian Football competition for three years immediately before inclusion on the Rookie List;
— Is an international player, meaning he is not an Australian citizen and has not lived in Australia for a substantial period;
— Is a former NSW Scholarship player with that club;
— Is a former International Scholarship player with that club;
— Is a rookie Zone Selection for clubs based in NSW or Queensland.
Technically Essendon can sign Wilson at any time, but must lock him in ahead of Monday’s rookie draft if he is to be on their list in 2017.