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Thretton Palamo with ball. Abel Barrientes photo

Thretton Palamo has signed a contract with Saracens, joining Brett Thompson in the newest class of Eagles to make the jump to Europe. Thompson is set to join Edinburgh in the RaboDirect Pro 12.

Palamo’s signing was a bit unorthodox, as his conversation with Saracens began at the National Rugby Football League combine in March, the first of its kind on America. He and former Utah teammate and fellow All-American Don Pati caught the eyes of the Sarries scouts on hand and eventually received contract offers.

While Pati still needs an international cap – he’s eligible for both Samoa and the United States – to pull the trigger on his offer, Palamo will head for London this week pending no visa hang-ups. He has a three-month trial, at the end of which he’ll either be extended or likely join the 7s Eagles at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.

This is Palamo’s second shot at professional rugby. He signed on with Biarritz at the age of 19 following the 2007 World Cup, but opted to come back to the States and go to college. He starred for Utah, helping the Utes, alongside Pati, win the inaugural Collegiate Rugby Championship on national television. He then walked onto the Utes football team and earned a scholarship.

When Saracens made it clear they wanted to sign Palamo, he still had NFL pro days to go through, a non-rugby job offer to consider and a semester’s worth of an internship at the OTC. Now, seven years after his first immersion in professional rugby, he’s ready to give it another go.

“Last time I was doing it, just getting out of high school, it was something fun to do. Taking it all in, I was a kid playing the video games, and next thing I know I’m playing against the guys I was playing in the video games like in real life. That was kind of mind blowing,” Palamo told Rugby Today.

“This time around, I have football under my belt. Anyone who gets through football, especially at DI, you come out a lot more responsible, you know what you have to do now. It’s like boot camp, really, for life. I’m all about film and training, and this time around I’m ready to understand that it’s work. And I’m excited for that. I’m excited about the job.”

Saracens is home to Palamo's Eagle teammates Chris Wyles and Hayden Smith, though Smith has been rumored to be headed for Super Rugby.