Everett props up UA rugby

By Craig Degel

Arizona Daily Wildcat

When Chris Everett discovered that football was no longer in his future, he decided to focus on the more relaxing sport of ... rugby?

Born in Kentucky and raised in Texas and Missouri, Everett played his high school football at Parkway South High School in Manchester, Mo., where he was a three-year varsity letterman. He also earned three letters in track.

When Everett came to the UA in the fall of 1992, he never considered himself big enough to play football, so he took up rugby. While playing rugby, Everett added some much-needed bulk to his 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame, as well as enough confidence to consider giving football another try.

"When I went to tryouts in spring '93, I wanted to do well," Everett said.

Mission accomplished. In fact, he did well enough to earn a spot on the defensive scout team. The basic duties for the scout team involve offering up your body for the betterment of the first-team offense. He was given the instructions to "watch and learn."

Being on a weight program helped Everett bulk up to 230 pounds. One day, Everett got his chance.

"Adam Tinker had just put cornrows in his hair, and his head hurt," Everett said. "So they threw me in. I saw a tight end across from me so I figured I better just kick his ass."

And that's exactly what he did. With his performance, Everett earned a spot in the linebacker rotation, climbing as high as No. 2 on the depth chart.

Defensive graduate assistant Kevin Singleton calls Everett "a quiet, hard worker."

Unfortunately, Everett hurt his neck, an injury that eventually caused his stock on the team to drop.

"They spent about $3,000 trying to figure out what was wrong with me," Everett said.

What actually ended up being wrong was a misaligned vertebrae. While Everett still remains medically ineligible for NCAA competition, a quick trip to a chiropractor prolonged his rugby career.

Everett is a prop on the rugby squad prop is a front row position akin to being a lineman on a football team.

"Chris has a lot of natural ability," UA coach Dave Sitton said. "He is extremely coachable, and plays a well-studied position. Our conference is a big producer of All-American props."

In terms of his presence on the field, Sitton describes Everett as someone who leads by example.

"In his position as prop, Chris has to be a leader, he has that good personality a leader needs," Sitton said.

This season Everett hopes to help the team to continue improving with every match. For now he is looking forward to the High Desert Classic in Albuquerque, N.M.

"The alumni (game last weekend) was fun and all, but from now on it's going to count," Everett said.

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