By David Fong
TROY — For Kameron Block, less was more.
It was also More … as in Thomas More College.
Standing just 5-foot-10, the Troy senior football player knew — even at a robust 275 pounds — his college prospects would be limited as an offensive lineman. So he went through a radical training and nutrition program that saw him shed more than 50 pounds over the winter, turning him from an overlooked college football player into a highly sought-after college rugby prospect.
Thursday, that hard work in the weightroom and dedication at the dinner table paid off as Block signed a letter of intent to attend school and play rugby at Thomas More College in Kentucky.
“I weighed about 275 at the end of football season (in early November and I wrestled this winter at 220 about halfway through the season,” Block said. “I did a lot of running. There were a lot times when I was going to the Y at 5 a.m. to run and lift before school, then going to wrestling practice after school. I also changed my diet a lot — no junk, no pop.”
Block’s new and improved physique should allow him to play a position that will see him less involved in scrums and more involved in carrying the ball, something he’s looking forward to doing after spending most of his high school career blocking for Troy’s ballcarriers.
“I haven’t really carried the ball in football since I played fullback my freshman year,” Block said. “Anyone can carry the ball in rugby, but I’m more likely to carry it in my new position. That’s something I’m looking forward to doing. That’s one of the reasons I lost the weight. I wanted to change positions and carry the ball more.”
Block picked up rugby the spring of his sophomore year and has spent the past three years playing for the Miami County Bombers club team.
“Rugby is something I just sort of picked up to keep up the contact and stay in shape,” Block said. “But I ended up having a lot of fun doing it, once I learned all of the rules.”
Block will be moving away from a highly successful football career. He began seeing varsity playing time on the offensive line as a sophomore, then earned a starting spot at offensive guard his junior season. He suffered a knee injury in the final game of the regular season against Piqua in 2016, but battled back through rehab to have a stellar senior season last fall, earning honorable mention All-Ohio, All-Southwest District Division II first team and All-Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division first team honors.
“If Kameron was 4-5 inches taller, we’d be standing here talking about him playing college football,” Troy football coach Matt Burgbacher said. “He’s one of the better offensive linemen we’ve had here. He’s a great kid and a great leader. He’s done an incredible job transforming his body. From where he was at the end of football season to where is now, you don’t just do by chance. He’s worked extremely hard to give himself this opportunity. I think he’s going to do well as a college rugby player.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong