Jules Heningburg signs a one-year deal with Carolina Chaos

By Hayden Lewis | Mar 7, 2024

Monday was a wild opening day for PLL Free Agency. One of the most notable deals was Jules Heningburg signing a one-year deal with the Carolina Chaos, leaving the California Redwoods after five years. 

In 2019, Heningburg was at the height of his professional career production-wise, playing attack on a solid Redwoods squad. Heningburg was the leading scorer on the Woods, scoring 21 goals and notching 12 assists for 33 points. Those numbers had Heningburg second in goals, fourth in points and sixth in assists.

From a college standout at Rutgers to a budding professional superstar, the stars were shining bright around Heningburg. Then, the coronavirus pandemic hit, and Heningburg didn’t play the bubble season in 2020 due to complications from contracting the virus. 

When Heningburg returned to the roster in 2021, he was ready to take control of the offense as the quarterback, but the Redwoods had a new quarterback in veteran Rob Pannell. Adding Pannell to the Redwoods roster meant a change in responsibility for Heningburg - he was Wally Pipp’d. 

Heningburg moved from X attackman to running out of the box as a middy. The switch in position led to less production for Heningburg. Heningburg went from scoring 33 points in 2019 to only having 13 in 2023. 

On Monday, after signing his new deal, Heningburg dropped this tweet:

One clear word stands out above everything else: #Attack. This begs the question, is Jules Heningburg returning to the attack position?

I think so. 

Heningburg is an excellent quarterback and loves initiating from below goal-line extended (GLE). Rookie Brian Minicus bloomed into the X attackmen role for the Chaos last year and played excellent stockpiling 24 points on the season. 

Heningburg is no stranger to playing with other solid attackmen. On the Redwoods, one of his teammates was Matt Kavanagh. Kavanagh and Heningburg worked with each other well and scored some astonishing goals together.

The difference between Kavanagh and Mincus will be speed. Minicus is one of the few players who didn’t have the lacrosse dads screaming “WHEELS” when he touched the ball because they needed to keep his speed quiet. 

“Minicus is another guy who I'm watching his tape, and I don't know if there's another guy that has the speed that he has in the league and quickness,” said Heningburg with a chuckle. “You know, obviously, there is Michael Sowers, but (Minicus) is a guy who I think is a little bit underrated honestly.”

Minicus draws doubles and early slides because he’s too quick and jittery for opposing defenders. His speed will free up Heningburg in the two-man game below GLE and allow Heningburg to feed or wrap around for free points. 

It’s hard to talk about the Carolina Chaos attack without talking about Josh Byrne. Byrne is a great player, and Heningburg noted that.

“I think Josh Byrne will be, to date, probably the best player I've ever stepped on the field with honestly. Obviously, I played with Rob (Pannell), and I think I played with Rob later in his career,” said Heningburg. “I think Josh is at that point where if you're looking at him both from an outdoor and indoor perspective, he's one of the most dynamic players in the game.”

Heningburg has many tools around him that can elevate his game. In the best-case scenario, the elevation of Heningburg’s game may spark the Chaos’ return to winning the PLL Championship for the first time since 2021. 

The worst-case scenario for the Chaos is Heningburg not clicking with the new teammates around him, resulting in Heningburg falling down the depth chart into a position he doesn’t like, ultimately leading to turmoil in the Chaos locker room.

Heningburg makes great decisions with the ball and noted it as his best trait. During Heningburg’s conversations in free agency, he made sure his impact on the field was an emphasis during those discussions.

“I made it very clear that it was important to me that I was part of a team where whatever position I was playing I was having an impact on the game that was gonna allow us to win,” said Heningburg.

The cards all lie in the hands of Carolina’s Coach Andy Towers, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see AT throw Heningburg back down low, and it was a selling point for Heningburg to join the Chaos. 

A fresh start and a chance to compete for a title are all that remain on Heningburg’s mind now. 

“I'm just excited for a fresh start and for me to help a team compete for a championship,” said Heningburg. “As you get older, it is the most important thing. Winning is everything.”