Connecting with a college team’s current players can be a great way to get a feel for a program, so we interviewed Furman’s Andres Mejicanos and Jackson King to learn more about what life is like as a student-athlete at Furman.
Read More About Furman University’s Rugby Program: https://www.ruggersedge.com/2019/10/about-furman-university-rugby/
Andres Mejicanos, Florida, Sophomore (former Rugger’s Edge student) Primary Rugby Position: 8-Man
Jackson King, Connecticut, Sophomore Primary Rugby Position: Tight Head Prop
Why did you choose your school?
Andrew: I chose Furman University because I knew I wanted to continue to play rugby in college, but I didn’t want to sacrifice academics in order to do so. Furman allowed me to get a rigorous education while also having the opportunity to play high-level rugby.
Jackson: I knew I wanted to go south and continue rugby after high school. I chose Furman University because it is an exemplary school and academics came first for me, but it also has a fantastic rugby program.
What was your process of being recruited?
Andrew: Due to my late start in rugby (the summer before my junior year of high school), I was very behind in the recruitment process. I attended a camp in Dartmouth the summer before my senior year, which allowed me to get exposed to some schools but not as many as I would have liked. The Ruggers Edge helped me to get into contact with schools, one of which was Furman. From there I created a rugby resume and emailed it to the head coach of Furman Rugby who at the time was John Roberts. From there, Coach Roberts and I arranged for me to come on an overnight visit in the fall of 2017 where I met with the team and was exposed to all of the benefits of Furman Rugby. During the spring of 2018, Mike Miller became the head coach and reached out to me to share that he would still love to have me on the team. I then later committed in April of 2018.
Jackson: I contacted the coaches as a junior in high school and practiced with the team. I stayed in contact with the coaches through the admission process and immediately received a call from Coach Mike Miller when I committed to Furman to congratulate me on my decision.
What are your favorite parts about being a member of the rugby program?
Andrew: My favorite part about the rugby program is that it balances being a player and a student. Furman Rugby is a very high performing program, but Coach Mike Miller is very supportive of us getting the full Furman experience. Furman Rugby’s flexibility allows me to participate in a high-level program while also being involved in other extracurriculars such as the Furman University Student Activities Board and Sigma Nu fraternity.
Jackson: My favorite part about being a member of the team is the camaraderie and friendship that comes almost immediately between the different ages of players.
What are your favorite parts about being a student at your school?
Andrew: My favorite parts about being a student at Furman University both stem from Furman’s small size: the community feel and challenging academics. At Furman, you always feel as though people want the best for you, including teachers, administrators, students, or coaches. This, blended with challenging academics makes you realize that people want to see you succeed, but they will not put in the work for you. Furman is challenging and encouraging, allowing students to develop in more profound ways than at a bigger school.
Jackson: My favorite part of being a Furman undergraduate student is how the teaches and fellow students treat each other. Everyone learns everyone’s name and you become close as a class because of the small class sizes. In my opinion, students can learn much more effectively in this environment.
How do you balance schoolwork and rugby?
Andrew: I balance schoolwork and rugby mainly through the help of my teammates. To play for Furman Rugby, you must meet specific academic requirements. The bond between teammates extends past the field, and each player helps to keep one another accountable as much as they can. In addition to the accountability from teammates, I am also involved in other extracurriculars which require me to have a strict schedule. As Coach Mike Miller always says, “Start On Time, Stay On Task, Stop On Time. SOT Always.”
Jackson: Since we only practice three days a week I use my other time away from the team to do my work and prepare for class. As long as you stay caught up with your schoolwork then rugby has very little impact on your schedule.
What does a typical day and/or week look like for you?
Andrew: A typical week for me is pretty busy. Being a full-time student I have classes Monday through Friday, but I’m typically done in the early afternoon. In addition to class, I have rugby practice three days a week for an hour and a half in the evenings and rugby games are always on Saturday. I also have weekly board and committee meetings for the Furman University Student Activities Board and a weekly chapter meeting for the Sigma Nu fraternity.
Jackson: I have between one to four classes a day. After class I get some work done and then head to the pitch for practice. We have practice three days a week and I personally weights lift two days a week.
What’s the biggest challenge about playing rugby at your school?
Andrew: The biggest challenge about playing rugby at Furman is living up to the reputations of players before me. Furman Rugby has consistently recruited strong players and, as a club, Furman Rugby saw a lot of success very early on thus setting a precedent for the culture of the team. Although Furman Rugby is not a varsity program, we operate at a varsity level and our goals are set high every year because Coach Mike Miller knows what we are capable of even if we lose sight of it sometimes.
Jackson: The biggest challenge is trying to maintain the team’s reputation on campus and in the SRC D2 league. Historically, Furman has been a juggernaut in our conference for such a small school and as other schools improve we have to continue to get better.
Besides rugby, what else are you involved in on campus?
Andrew: Besides rugby, I am involved in the Furman University Student Activities Board and Sigma Nu Fraternity.
Jackson: I am involved in Greek Life as a Sigma Nu.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with a high school player who is interested in your school?
Andrew: Visit. On paper, I was a little hesitant about Furman because of the size. But when I came to visit, I realized that there is so much more to Furman than any online video or email could ever convey. Furman does not just create great rugby players and students, but it also fully develops very capable young adults who will take the lessons from their Furman experience out into society.
Jackson: Furman is one of the best programs and schools in the southeast that a player and student could attend.
Photo Credit: Furman University Rugby