College teams, as well as players and fans from around the country, have voted to create the list of five finalists for the Rudy ScholzAward.
Given annually to the top men's college player in the country, the Rudy ScholzAward is sponsored by the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle, WA and has been presented each of the last three years.
Dylan Audsley(Saint Mary's), Bryce Campbell (Indiana), and Connor McNerney(Navy) are the three previous winners. Audley and Campbell have since been capped by the USA in 15s, while McNerney is now serving his country in the United States Navy.
A panel of coaching and college rugby experts, along with input from fans, created a list of 11 nominees, and that list was then voted on in two ways—fans could vote in one poll, and college team representatives (coaches, directors, or captains) could vote in the other. Each poll carried equal weight.
The top popular vote-getter, and top expert vote-getter, and the next three best combined vote-getters made the finalist list.
The 2019 Rudy ScholzAward Finalists are:
Aaron Matthews, Saint Mary'sMatthews is a former HS All American and has played flyhalf, center, and fullback for the Gaels, excelling at all as he has helped lead his team to a national D1A semifinal.
Eamonn Matthews, St. Bonaventure
The top vote-getter by the fans, Matthews is the scrumhalf at Bonnies and helped carry SBU to its best season in recent memory, breaking the D1A top 12.
Tanner Pope, Arkansas State
Pope is an athletic, quick prop who can also do the work in tight, and his leadership was a major reason that ASU was only four points from making the D1A semis.
Matt Rogers, Arizona A quick and inventive scrumhalf, Rogers is the linchpin of a still-young Arizona team that finished 2nd in the PAC Rugby Conference and made the D1A Quarterfinals.
Harley Wheeler, Life UniversityA versatile back who has played center and wing, Wheeler burst onto the scene late last year with three tries in the D1A final, and three more for the All Americans. He has his Running Eagles back in the D1A hunt again.
The winner will be announced in a couple of weeks after the nomination panel has voted. The winner will then receive the award on June 8 at a gala event at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle. The award is named after Rudy Scholz, who was a star rugby player for Santa Clara, and won two Olympic Gold Medals playing rugby for the USA in 1920 and 1925. Scholz served in two world wars, and was a successful coach and attorney in his private life. He played rugby into his 80s.