Chaz Augustini is still playing varsity football at a Division I school. But this year, it’s a bit different.
Augustini, a wide receiver, will have an entirely new setting when he lines up for the Quakers this Saturday. The sophomore from Medfield, Mass., is the newest member of Penn’s sprint football program after he transferred from Tulane, where he was a member of the more traditional football team.
For Augustini, transferring was not just about football. In fact, it mostly wasn’t.
“It’s Penn,” Augustini said. “I figured that it’s a good academic opportunity, and football helped me get in. So I figured if I could do it I might as well.”
Penn wasn’t just a random choice for Augustini, however. The D’Angelo brothers, Arthur and William, are both members of the team and are also from the same hometown as Augustini. They helped facilitate Augustini’s transfer.
“I always told him that he’d be a good fit for sprint football,” Arthur, the elder D’Angelo, said. “He’s a real good receiver, and he wants to go to a high academic school, and I talked to him about getting in contact with Coach Wagner, kind of started the process.”
The main difference between sprint football and regular football is the weight limit. All sprint players, regardless of their position, must weigh under 172 pounds. While the rest of the rules of football still apply, the weight limit alters the way the game is played. Everyone is lighter and faster, which makes the game move at a much quicker pace.
Despite this, Augustini is not concerned.
“Football is football, so I’ve been training hard,” he said. “I’m still playing the same position, but I’m just ready to have a bigger role.”
He has good reasons to not be concerned, too. At 5-foot-10, Augustini is well suited to transition from regular to sprint, where defensive backs are not as big or strong.
Augustini will step into an immediate role on the team this year. With star wideout Henry Mason having graduated last year, the team is in dire need of new targets for Mike McCurdy, the fourth-year starting quarterback. Augustini looks to be one of the players McCurdy and the coaching staff will turn to.
“I think that he can fit in to a lot of places, certainly because he has a lot of speed, he’s a great receiver, he’s got quick feet, he’s very instinctive,” coach Bill Wagner said. “Hopefully he’s going to practice all week and everybody will get a chance to see somebody who’s an unknown factor in the league. I think he’s going to be a very exciting player to watch.”
D’Angelo, who has already seen what Augustini can do at the high school level, agrees.
“I think he’ll be a top receiver, he has great hands, runs quick routes, maybe be a really good return man,” he said. “He made the walk on team at Tulane, he’s very talented.”
When the Quakers line up to face Mansfield this Saturday, Chaz Augustini will be making his collegiate debut. It just won’t be with the team that he started with.
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