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As reported on exclusively RUGBYMag.com on Feb 17, Thretton Palamo is in Chula Vista with the USA 7s team.


Palamo is there while he waits for the NFL draft. The former Utah All American rugby player, who helped the Utes win the inaugural Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s invitational in 2010, played both football and rugby at Utah, converting to all-football for his final year.

Palamo, 25, is part of a famous rugby-playing family. His father, Arona, played rugby for Samoa and brothers Seta and Toshi were Eagles 7s players, playing together on the same team in 1999.

He was a star player for the SFGG U19 team, but was missed by the USA U19 program at the time. Palamo went on to play for the Samoan U19s, and then the Samoan national 7s team. But, because he was actually too young to play international rugby - he was 17 at the time - the IRB ruled he had not committed to Samoa. So Palamo switched back to the USA, made the USA 7s and USA U20 teams. Then in 2007 he because the youngest player ever to be capped by the USA 15s team when he subbed on during the Rugby World Cup. His record has since been broken.

Palamo had been playing defensive end for Utah, and there's no way to really predict where he will fall in the NFL draft, if he is drafted at all. Certainly his presence at Chula Vista indicates that rugby is still important to him.

USA 7s Coach Matt Hawkins said Palamo will have to undergo some adjustment.

“I think pretty much anyone that trains is not really in sevens shape as far as the guys here training day in, day out,” Hawkins said. “The amount of time we spend on our legs each day – there aren’t a lot of people who do that just generally. Thretton obviously has put on a little more weight to be bigger and stronger for football, so that’s one of the things we’ll have to manage with his to get him back to where he needs to be.”

But as a 6-2, 250-lb athlete who can sidestep with the best of them, contest for ball in the air, and blow over most tacklers, he has enormous potential.