Will Rimes, the starting quarterback last fall for the Seminole Ridge High School football team, will continue to play competitive sports in college, but he won’t play football. Instead, he will play rugby.
Rimes will play for the Crusaders at Belmont Abbey College, based in Belmont, North Carolina, just outside of Charlotte. For the past seven years, Rimes has also played rugby for Wellington Wizards Rugby Club.
Belmont Abbey College head rugby coach Nick Whitrow is delighted to have Rimes on his list this fall.
“He’s an extremely talented rugby player and a good fit for our program,” said Whitrow, from Liverpool, England.
According to Whitrow, Rimes has the talent to play any backline position in rugby, ranging from scrum-half to full-back. In football terms, that means Rimes will play the hybrid version of a running back/fullback/wide receiver.
Since rugby has no offensive or defensive units, Rimes must also play defense and tackle like a linebacker or free safety. But unlike football, there is no blocking in rugby, which means attacking attacking moves are created with fast passing and fast running. In rugby, each player on the team touches the ball and tackles the opponent.
“Will has the speed, skill and vision to play rugby,” added Whitrow, who has coached Rimes on occasion.
Rimes’ decision to attend Belmont Abbey was no accident.
“I’ve known Will for a few years,” Whitrow said. “I coached him on some star teams in Utah and Florida. We stayed in touch for about two years.
Rimes is attached to his new head coach because of Whitrow’s commitment to the game and his players.
“I love the rugby culture at Belmont Abbey,” Rimes said. “Coach Nick has a great relationship with his players.”
Current Wellington Wizards head coach Ron Vargo has praised Rimes.
“Will is a very strong rugby player with a very good rugby IQ who is a leader on the pitch,” said Vargo, a longtime resident of The Acreage. “Will is very coachable and very respectful.”
Sean Kessler, one of the former Wellington Wizards coaches, agrees that Rimes is a talented athlete who is ready for college rugby.
“Will is a great boy, a great rugby player and comes from a great family,” Kessler said. “Will has a great knowledge of the terrain. He will play rugby well at Belmont Abbey.
Rimes will not be alone at Belmont Abbey. One of his teammates will be former Palm Beach Central High School football player Jordan Caro. Rimes isn’t the only member of his family to play college rugby, either. His cousin David Rimes, a Berean Christian School graduate, plays rugby at Life University in Marietta, Georgia.
For Will Rimes, his rugby teammates at Belmont Abbey come from many parts of the United States and other countries, such as South Africa, Ireland and England.
Rimes’ parents are delighted that their son is committed to playing rugby at the next level.
“We are super excited about this news,” said Jenna Rimes, Will’s mother. “We love rugby and Will loves playing it. My husband and I are looking forward to attending the games.
Last fall, as a senior, Rimes was a freshman quarterback at Seminole Ridge. He led the Hawks to an 8-2 regular season record and an appearance in the FHSAA playoffs. As the Hawks’ signal caller last season, Rimes had 13 total touchdowns (passes and rushes) for the Hawks. He was also the team’s second rusher, was the team captain, and was a South Florida Sun-Sentinel All-County selection. He also played in the Palm Beach County All-Star Football Game.
As well as Belmont Abbey, other colleges Rimes considered attending to play rugby were Life University; Queen’s University in Charlotte, North Carolina; and Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
At Belmont Abbey College, Rimes will pursue a business degree.