Red River Player of the Month – Sadiq Sule

D1A Rugby: Red River Player of the Month – Sadiq Sule
Photo Credit: D.W. Lucero
When Texas Tech returned to the pitch in early February, it was with heavy hearts and without a familiar face. The tragic loss of senior captain Quinn Noel shook the Red Raiders and the entire Red River Conference.

The team returned to competition a week later, and when head coach Philip Terrigno had to fill Noel’s spot on the field he turned to fellow senior Sadiq Sule to transition from outside center to the forward pack for the first time in his playing career. Sule did not disappoint, and his leadership and nine tries in the month of March appropriately earned him Player of the Month honors for the conference.

It was a big personal move according to Terrigno in regards to Sule’s change, but the Cypress, TX native accepted with role without hesitation.

“A difficult point came when we had to turn our attention back to rugby and we had some difficult personnel decisions to make. When I looked at the roster, I had to fill the No. 7 jersey with not only a capable player, but one that the team respected,” Terrigno said. “Sadiq has done well in filling that role and I think in the future, he could have success at the men’s club level at a variety of positions; a ball-hawking loose forward, or a back that can tackle in space and break the line.”

The newly assigned flanker scored a try in the team’s first game back since the tragedy versus Arkansas. Though shaky at first, Sule has grown dramatically in the past month in becoming a leader Texas Tech needed.

“When my coach first asked me to play flanker I wasn’t too confident in myself about how I would perform,” Sule admitted. “I knew that there was a reason Coach Terrigno asked me to play the position, so I accepted the role. After some time to become acclimated to the position and the training and support from my peers it started to feel more comfortable. I try to play as selflessly as Quinn would have and the chemistry with our team made it a smooth transition.”

That development reached a higher level at the beginning of March against Houston, when the supply chain management major led the team with eight tries in a 139-0 shutout. Emphasis on building a strong offensive foundation has been a big part of Terrigno’s process this spring. Though shaky as any new system usually is, the Red Raiders have made it all click thanks in part to Sule helping lead the charge.

He hopes to honor Noel one more time this year when he leads Texas Tech once again versus the Cougars at Huns Field in Austin.

“Though our record may not show it, we have come a very long way from the beginning of this school year, even this semester,” added Sule. “We performed very well last time we played Houston and I know we can do the same thing again. As long as we remember what we have worked on in practice and play rugby the way we were taught I think we can come out successful.”