Texas teen officially signs to play football … and rugby?

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

It's not unusual for a top athlete to compete in multiple sports in college. In particular, football players at certain positions (like wide receiver or defensive back) often participate in track and field in the spring, as the two sports and their training regimens tend to go hand-in-hand.

Fort Worth Nolan football player Shane Garza — NolanCatholicHS.org
Fort Worth Nolan football player Shane Garza — NolanCatholicHS.org

Yet those aren't the two sports being taken on by Fort Worth (Texas) Nolan Catholic High senior Shane Garza. Instead, Garza is heading to Canada so he can play both football and rugby.

As first reported by the Dallas Morning News, Shane Garza signed a letter of intent with the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where he will play both football and rugby for the school. Garza starred as a defensive end on the Nolan defensive line during his senior season in which Nolan captured a Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools state title -- its third in four years during Garza's run there -- and is likely to play on the defensive line or at linebacker in Vancouver as well.

Of course, that part of Garza's future is hardly out of the ordinary. It's his rugby involvement that is quite more unique. Garza has had to go beyond traditional bounds to even take part in the sport, as it isn't offered at Nolan Catholic. The 6-foot, 180-pound senior will become just the fifth U.S. native on the Thunderbirds' rugby roster (and certainly the first Texan).

To put that in context, there are as many international students from Australian and South Africa on UBC's 53-man rugby roster (though Garza's addition will break that tie).

While Garza's rugby skills might come as a surprise to some, his football talent comes directly from his dad; Shane's father Sam Garza is a former University of Texas-El Paso quarterback who starred in the Canadian Football League before becoming a scout for the Cowboys.

In fact, that's almost certainly where Shane Garza got the idea to spend his college years north of the border. Now that he's officially signed on to do so it will be fascinating to watch his career develop in the coming years, both on the field (football) and pitch (rugby).

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