Austin Gilgronis signed Casey McDermott Vai through the 2023 Major League Rugby season. The 25-year-old No.8 is 6’4″ and 235lbs.
Casey grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, and played rugby since he was 5-years-old. His family moved to Kansas City, Missouri in 2008 when he was in middle school and he was introduced to football.
He attended Raytown South High School and was a defensive end prior to graduating in 2014. From 2014-2019 he played football at Texas Christian University as a tight end and fullback for the Horned Frogs. He also played in the Valero Alamo Bowl in 2016 and in 2017. While at TCU he was a Social Work major.
He was not drafted in the NFL draft in 2019 but attended the Seattle Seahawks training camp.
He then returned to playing rugby with Colorado XO, which later became the American Raptors in 2021. he toured Uruguay with the team in October.
Austin Gilgronis Comments
“I’ve been buzzing ever since I joined the team, just to be competing for playing time and grinding again,” says Vai. “Our coaching staff here in Austin reminds me of my NFL coaches, they really care about you and how you’re progressing. I’m loving it here.’
AG Rugby Director of Player Personnel Dave Hodges says, “Casey [Vai]’s versatility as an athlete intrigued me because he played several positions in football, from O-line to D-line to tight end. He also was brought up around rugby until the age of 12 so he’s got some of the values and micro-skills in him that he’s now resurfacing.”
AG Head Coach Sam Harris signed Vai to a two-year deal and believes he can be a force in Austin. “Casey has all the physical ability to dominate the point of contact in this league, and he’s hungry to learn the game, the system, and the finer nuances of rugby.”
Welcome to the AG Family, Casey Vai!