April 24, 2024

CRC Preview: Division I Club Men

The University of San Diego will try to repeat as national champions, but it won’t be easy in an expanded field. Up first for the Toreros is Heart of America champion Nebraska. The Cornhuskers played a lot of 7s this spring with mixed results, but put it all together to win the conference championship in dominant fashion, led by star halfback Lucas Fleming.

USD comes in having already repeated as Gold Coast conference champions. Their known star is senior Paul Habeeb, who made his debut with the Headliners in Premier Rugby 7s after breaking out in the Toreros’ championship run at the CRC last year. The lesser known commodity is Jack Porter, a senior football crossover. He was a three time All Ohio running back in high school and began his intercollegiate athletic career playing gridiron at Wake Forest. His explosive athleticism will be a valuable asset. 

15s runner up Louisville also looks like a tough out, with three All Americans on the squad in Angelo Eklou, Ryan Cammarata and Aaron Stevenson. Before helping the Cardinals win the MAC championship this spring, Cammarata helped North American Village win a club 7s national title last summer. 

The University of Southern California boasts a truly international roster, featuring players from Italy, Lebanon, China, Jamaica, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Peru and Canada. The Trojans finished second to San Diego in the Gold Coast and should be considered a serious contender. 

The two opening rounds of the Men’s Division I Club bracket will be played Friday and streamed live on National Collegiate Rugby’s YouTube, with the semifinals (12:30 and 12:50 EST) and finals (6:32 EST) set for Saturday live on The Rugby Network.

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