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Top Draft Pick Finds New Home In Austin

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Top Draft Pick Finds New Home In Austin

Connor Mooneyham was an All American in 2019. Photo USA Rugby.

Former Life University center Connor Mooneyham was all smiles when he was drafted #1 overall in the first Major League Rugby Draft, but when his team, the Dallas Jackals, decided not to compete this 2021 season, he was left adrift—until now.

In a move ov overwhelming logic, Mooneyham has signed with the Austin Gilgronis just a few hours south on I-35 from Dallas. Mooneyham played his high school rugby in Texas, and said he had thought Dallas a good fit. But with the Jackals announcing they would defer their inaugural season, the players had to find somewhere else to go. Mooneyham, along with the three other Dallas picks who picked up their lives planning to move to Texas, had to find another way.

“I’m excited to be able to stay in Texas and I’m excited about the AGs – this is a team that’s really starting to put it together,” says Mooneyham. “I’m just excited man.”

AGs Head Coach Sam Harris apparently had Mooneyham at the top of his recruiting list when the draft was coming up and was disappointed to see him taken so early.

“I scouted through a list of 278 Collegiate players and Conner was in my top five – and some of those five weren’t draft-eligible, so yeah you could say he was right at the top,”said Harris. “He’s a penetrating ball carrier which is a big plus because there’s not many of those going around and he’s got a really good frame, so he can put more size on him.”

Mooneyham can play outside center and fullback and could probably expand his repertroir over time. The Woodlands Rugby grad

As Shocked As Anyone: Mooneyham Ponders Being #1

Mooneyham is part of a flood of college talen Austin has signed through the draft and after.

“Adding Conner is us building upon this young brigade we have in our squad,” said Harris. “We’ve got the first pick [Conner Mooneyham], the fourth pick [Lui Sitama of AIC], the 16th pick – that’s Mason Koch [of Dartmouth] – and the guy that truly could’ve gone number one in Cam Dodson [GCU]; and then you add Sid Shoop [Pathway 404, and Arizona], who’s younger than all of em’.

"Building around the youth and bringing the youth through the team is something Mark [Gerrard] and I are really keen on. We want to have young energy in the team.”