Donald Parham shines in Renegades win over Seattle

Dallas Renegades Donald Parham (Credit: XFL.com)

Seattle, WA– The prototype tight end is tall with solid length, not as heavy as a lineman, and not as light as a wide receiver, and can possess a several skills that can benefit an offense in several ways. Like Rob Gronkowski’s who had the ability to block and become a receiver, or like Shannon Sharpe, the big play prototype that you can use to stretch the middle of the field.

The talent pool of tight end is far and wide in variety depending on what the offense is calling for, and Donald Parham is the perfect fit for Hal Mumme’s air raid attack.

Donald Parham started his football journey differently from what you would expect. Parham lettered in basketball at Lake Gibson High School (FL), and played one year of high school football in which he recorded 13 receptions for 234 yards.

Instead of pursuing his hoop dreams he opted to further his interest in football, and made the decision to attend Stetson University. Parham did not see much action as a freshman while appearing in 4 games.

In his sophomore year, Parham’s role increased in the offense and he finished the year with 37 receptions 455 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. From his junior through his senior season Donald Parham recorded a total of 143 receptions 2,136 receiving yards and scored 14 of his 20 career receiving touchdowns. During his senior season he also averaged 146.6 yards and 9 receptions per game which led the entire FCS.

Parham went undrafted but later signed with the Detroit Lions was waived in May 2019. Then he signed with the Washington Redskins after a mini camp tryout and was later released before the beginning of the 2019 season, just in time for the XFL to come in and scoop him up and invite him to the draft.

The Dallas Renegades selected Parham in the ninth round of the first ever XFL Draft, and during training camp Parham and Sean Price were close in camp but Parham got the nod from the Renegades coaching staff before the season kicked off.

During the week 1 match up against the St.Louis Battlehawks, while Philip Nelson filled in for injured Landry Jones, and Parham was the #1 option which the Renegades finished the drive with a field goal to take the lead before halftime. Parham finished the game with the second most receptions (4) and second most receiving yards (40).

The 6’8 tight end capitalized on his performance in the first week. With Landry Jones returning to the lineup the Renegades turned up the heat against the LA Wildcats and the team was able to produce over 300 passing yards. Parham was a big part of the win and led receivers in yards and put the only touchdown on the board in the fourth quarter. He finished the game with 5 receptions 76 yards 1 touchdown and averaged 15 yards per reception.

Parham put the XFL on notice in his performance against the Seattle Dragons. He was clearly one of the better players on the field and it was noticeable. With 8:58 left in the fourth quarter Parham helped the Renegades seal the deal in Seattle being on the back end of a 65 yard Landry Jones touchdown pass putting Dallas up 21-12 over the Dragons. Parham finished the game with 5 receptions 101 receiving yards and 1 touchdown.

Through 3 weeks of XFL play Parham and the Renegades are 2-1 and set to face the Houston Roughnecks next Sunday at Globe Life Park. There have been questions surrounding the Renegades and what type of offense it would become ultimately. They have a solid foundation having one of the better offensive lines in the XFL, a solid running back group, and talented wide receiver group, and the former basketball stud turned XFL star lining up outside of the tackles on Saturdays and Sundays.

Yes, we can talk about PJ Walker, Cam Phillips, Landry Jones, or Cardale Jones, but you have to think that after the string of performances Parham has put together so far , he is becoming a household name amongst Renegade fans and XFL fans everywhere.

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Jones knocks “rust”off in 4th; Renegades separate in the second half

Landry Jones
The Renegades put together a solid win on the road, locked up their first win, and did it all when Landry Jones was in the lineup. 

Los Angeles, CA– The Renegades left Carson with a “W” beating the Wildcats 25-18, though they had a slow start.

Through the first half of play the game had a similar feel to last week’s matchup at home against the St.Louis BattleHawks. The game had a slow start with both teams being forced into 3 & outs and turnovers.

The Renegades offensive drives during the first half resulted in two punts, a interception, a fumble, and field goal.

Landry Jones was 17 for 26 and tallied 177 passing yards and 1 interception in the first half, and were 0/2 on third downs.

With 2:58 left on the clock, the Wildcats capped off a 9 play 38 yard drive with a Nick Novak field goal that split the uprights putting the first points on the board.

The following drive the Renegades returned the favor and scored on a 12 play 50 yard drive leaving with seconds remaining by way of a Austin MacGinnis 41 yard field goal to tie the game.

The Renegades through 6 quarters of football only scored (15) points, which at the time was league worst.

Landry Jones spoke several times during the game stating he needed to be the one to step up and lead his team to victory.

Going into the second half it was very noticeable that the Renegades emphasized at half time to get the ball to open receivers in space to move the ball.

The third quarter had its share of three and outs and turnovers just like the first half, but ultimately resulted in a 45-yard field goal from Austin MacGinnis to take the lead increasing the Renegades lead 6-3.

We all know in the sport of football how quickly things can change.

LA, after working the ball down field with seconds remaining in the third, started the fourth quarter with the ball on the Renegades 30-yard line, which placed them in a perfect position to take over the game.

Josh Johnson connected with Nelson Spruce on a 6 yard strike for a touchdown early, taking the lead 9-6 in a game that was clouded by uncertainty of either team scoring the football.

The Renegades began the ensuing drive at their own 32 yard line, and the drive started with a sack that placed Dallas in a second and long.

That hit had to have knocked the “rust” off Landry Jones.

Jones threw three consecutive passes and completed all of them. Tight end Donald Parham who was getting a ton of looks in the first half caught a 16-yard pass for a first down, then wide receiver Josh Crockett was on the receiving end of a pass that put the Renegades into plus territory.

The Renegades rushing attack which didn’t gain much traction in the first three quarters, came alive and Cameron Artis Payne capped the drive off with a 21 yard touchdown and converted the 1 point conversion giving them the lead 13-9.

The Wildcats got the ball back and quickly went three and out. A neutral zone infraction by LA, and a huge punt return by Flynn Nagel put the Renegades at the Wildcats 30 yard line.

On the next drive Jones was able to find Donald Parham on a quick out route in the flat for a 3 yard touchdown to cap off a short 5 play 25-yard drive. The Renegades took a commanding 19-9 lead with just a little over 5 minutes remaining.

As I said before, things change quickly in the sport of football, Josh Johnson connected with Nelson Spruce on a 44-yard touchdown making it a one possession game after a successful three point conversion.

To start the final drive, Cameron Artis-Payne enforced his will rushing the ball twice for 20 yards, and then Landry Jones threw his final pass attempt of the game and made it count, finding Jeff Badet on a 16-yard completion setting up another Artis-Payne run which went for a touchdown.

Bob Stoops and Landry Jones locked up their first win in the XFL and extended their combined record as player and coach to 40-12.

Landry Jones finished the game 28/40 305 yards 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions, but completed 70% of his passes, which is a very encouraging stat for this team going forward.

If this offense can be efficient, it could cause opposing defenses headaches.

For the Renegades, this is just the beginning, and some people may think it was a so-so debut performance for Jones, but I believe as before when he and Bob Stoops were at the University of Oklahoma, he found a way to get it done and be one of the reasons why Renegades won the game.

The Renegades put together a solid win on the road, locked up their first win, and did it all when Landry Jones was in the lineup.

In my opinion, that’s not a bad day at the office.

Stoops still has confidence in Philip Nelson despite so-so Week 1 performance

Dallas Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops
Dallas Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops during the Dallas opening game anthem. (Credit XFL.com)

Arlington, Texas – As Bob Stoops left the post game press conference, QB Philip Nelson and RB Lance Dunbar entered the room. In passing Stoops said to Nelson ,”Good job out there today bud”.

Despite Nelson’s play Stoops still had the upmost confidence in his week 1 starter.

“Philip does a good job and a lot of the inconsistencies aren’t on him. We need to play better.”

In Nelson’s debut he threw for 209 yards, but did so with 42 pass attempts and completing 33 of those passes. The Renegades offense averaged just a bit over 5 yards per attempt, which both Stoops and Nelson credit the BattleHawks defense for their approach to the game.

“In the preseason game that we had against them [St. Louis], we were going over the top of them,” said Nelson. “You could tell today that they were backing up. Coach [Hal] Mumme says all the time that ‘you have to have a great capacity for boredom,’ which meant to check it down tonight.”

The game started off rough for both teams as the first quarter was full of three and out drives. Late in the first quarter the Renegades were able to capitalize on a fumble by St. Louis running back Christine Michel, placing the Renegades at their own 38 yard line.

This resulted in a 32 yard field goal by Austin MacGinnis with a little over 9 minutes remaining in the first half.

The Renegades received another gift when the BattleHawks punted the ball and were called for an illegal block, and placed the Renegades in plus territory.

Again, the Renegades began their drive in ideal field position and failed to convert on a Lance Dunbar run to the left where he was stopped 4 yards short of the first down marker. The BattleHawks took full advantage and outside of a false start penalty early in the drive, they capped off a 10 play 62 yard drive with a 16 yard touchdown run by Keith Ford (2pt conversion no good) which gave the BattleHawks the lead for the first time in the game with a 1:26 remaining on the clock in the first half.

Nelson and the offense finally got into rhythm once they got the ball back, connecting with tight end Donald Parham three times, as he led his offense down the field in the final moments of the second half to setup another Austin MacGinnis field goal which tied the game with eight seconds remaining in the first half.

With a little under six minutes in the third quarter the Renegades took the lead again by way of another Austin MacGinnis field goal making the score 9-6, and from that point forward the Renegades struggled to find their footing. Nelson and his offense really hit a snag and caused the Renegades offense to move away from what was reported to be a “up-tempo” offense.

BattleHawks inside linebacker Dexter McCoil knew that if they were able to stop big plays from being the story of the day his team could possibly pull momentum in their favor.

“Every team wants to keep everything in front of them. You can’t allow big plays, no matter what defense or game it is. Usually big plays dictate the momentum of the game, and teams usually get points out of them. We knew if we eliminated the big plays and stopped the run that we would be successful.”

McCoil also expressed how important it is to get the defense off the field on third down but didn’t know that the BattleHawk defense held the Renegades to only one third down conversion.

“I didn’t know that, but that pretty good. Every time you come into a game third down is crucial. You want to stop the momentum of the game because you don’t want to stay on the field, so being able to get off the field on third downs is big so we can give our offense the ball back.”

Well the BattleHawks defense did their job, and got their offense in prime position to drive down the field. The BattleHawk defense sacked Nelson at the right time and forced the Renegades to punt the football late in third quarter.

The Drew Galitz punt placed the BattleHawks offense at their own 17 yard line with 2:42 left in the third quarter.

This would turn out to be one of the biggest drives of the game. The BattleHawks offense led by quarterback Jordan Ta’amu marched down the field on a 11 play 83 yard scoring drive by way of Ta’amu arm and legs. The biggest play in the game at that moment was a gashing run up the middle by Ta’amu for 37 yards which placed the BattleHawks on the 9 yard line. The next play Ta’amu threw a 9 yard touchdown strike to receiver Alonzo Russell in the back of the endzone to put the BattleHawks ahead of the Renegades 12-9.

The Renegades would eventually regain possession but quickly went three and out after Nelson was sacked 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage making it 3 & 11 from the 50 yard line, and missing a golden opportunity to hit a wide open Jazz Ferguson to get his team back into the game.

The BattleHawks sealed the deal by marching down the field on 10 play 68 yard drive which resulted in a successful 48 yard Taylor Russolino field goal with less than 6 minutes left in the game.

The BattleHawks forced the Renegades to go three and out again was able to milk the clock leaving the Renegades with 44 seconds left on the game clock to make something happen.

In a last ditch effort to bring his team back from a 6 point deficit with 44 seconds left on the clock Nelson hit receiver Jeff Badet for a 4 yard gain and then connected with receiver Jerrod Heard for a 10 yard gain.

Nelson helped get the Renegades to their own 30 yard line after starting that drive on their own 16 yard line with 23 seconds left on the clock.

Nelson who played mistake free football for majority of the game would go on to throw his lone interception getting picked off by safety Will Hill and end the Renegades hopes of week 1 comeback at Globe Life Park.

Now I am not one to cry over spilled milk because this team has all the potential in the world. The Renegades were a few plays away from beating a team that was healthy and had most of their weapons on offense and defense, and the BattleHawks were a few plays from losing a game against a team who is missing their starting quarterback, a short yardage running back in Dimitri Flowers, and a couple of banged up receivers.

The old adage goes it is tough to beat a team twice, and all credit to Jonathan Hayes and his coaching staff. His team lost to the Renegades in similar fashion in the preseason, and Philip Nelson was able to take the top off the BattleHawk defense. No, it wasn’t the best performance by Nelson, but again if you see a team within three weeks of playing in a preseason game and playing in a regular season game the opposing team is usually prepared more so than not.

If starting quarterback Landry Jones is not a go next week, I fully expect Nelson to get another chance to showcase his playmaking ability and rise above the criticism that followed after his performance in Sunday’s loss.

The Renegades will face off against the LA Wildcats in week 2 and I am sure Stoops and Co. will be prepared to showcase that air-raid offense with Nelson potentially getting his second career XFL start.

On to LA.

Meet QB Philip Nelson the Renegades starting quarterback for Week 1

Philip Nelson #9 Dallas Renegades
Philip Nelson #9 Dallas Renegades  Photo: XFL.com

Here we go! The inaugural XFL season is less than 24 hours away from showcasing their league to thousands of fans who have anticipated the arrival of the new professional league.

The Dallas Renegades will face off against the St.Louis Battlehawks on Sunday at 4PM and they have named their starter for Week 1, and it is not QB Landry Jones.

Jones injured his knee while in training camp in mid January and is expected to be ready to play in the Renegades week 2 match up against the LA Wildcats.

So who is QB2 Philip Nelson?

Nelson started his collegiate playing career as a Minnesota Golden Gopher. In his debut start as a true freshman, Nelson passed for two touchdowns and was also the Gophers leading rusher. Nelson was later named the starter for the remaining 7 games of the season recording a 2-5 record and a bowl invitation to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.

In his sophomore season Nelson led the Gophers to a 4-0 start, but suffered a hamstring injury against the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Gophers went on to lose that game 23-7. Once healthy, Nelson regained the starting quarterback position and helped the Gophers upset No.24 Nebraska in his return. Nelson later announced his decision to transfer to Rutgers University due to the uncertainty of being the starter for the Gophers the following year. Later, he was dismissed from the program.

Once dismissed from Rutgers he decided to walk on at East Carolina University, and won the starting quarterback job before the beginning of the season. Nelson and the Pirates began the season with a 2-0 record beating Western Carolina and NC State. Nelson combined for 6 touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown through those two games alone. The ECUPirates would go on to win only one more game that season.

After the season was over, Nelson was invited to the 2017 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl which is a game for Senior stand outs and NFL hopefuls. In that game, Nelson led his team on a 14 play scoring drive in the opening series of the game. He finished the game going 11 of 18 through the air for 100+ yards and also added a one yard rushing touchdown. He  named the team’s MVP for his performance.

Former NFL head coach Mike Martz and offensive coordinator of the 1999 St. Louis Rams team that was dubbed “The Greatest Show on Turf” coached Nelson in the 2017 the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, and endorsed Nelson as a potential star in the making.

Martz stated that, “he firmly believes Philip can be a starter in the {NFL}. He has no flaws.”

Nelson was also one of the  budding stars of the now defunct Alliance of American Football. Nelson was drafted by the San Diego Fleet in the 3rd round with the 8th pick. Nelson started the season as the backup to QB Marco Bercovici, but later replaced the struggling Bercovici in the Fleet’s first game against the San Antonio Commanders, and finished the game going 5-10 for 68 yards and 1 interception. Nelson was later named the starter for the Fleet in their next game against the Atlanta Legends.

In his first start Nelson went 14-30 passing for 142 yards and an interception, but led his team to victory against the Legends winning that game 24-12. The following game Nelson threw an interception on the first play of the game, but rallied his team to victory by throwing two touchdown passes to beat the San Antonio Commanders 31-11. In his third start he started the game but exited the game in the 2nd quarter with a shoulder injury. He was later placed on IR with a broken clavicle and never took another snap in the AAF due to the league ceasing operations in April 2019.

Nelson finished 10th in passing yards (513) and passing touchdowns (3) and 6th in completion percentage (58.4%) in the AAF’s lone season. Those are pretty respectable numbers considering he only played 4 games and started 3 in comparison to Mike Bercovici who played 4 full games and tallied a lower completion percentage, quarterback rating and threw 7 interceptions compared to Nelson’s 3.

Nelson also had a small stint with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian football league and served as the fourth string quarterback, before being released from the team before training camp in May 2018.

You may look at this and say that he doesn’t have the resume. Well the resume may not be there, but now that he has a collegiate legend head coach Bob Stoops and the originator and innovator of the Air Raid offense Hal Mumme on his sideline, the sky is the limit for Nelson.

In my opinion, throughout training camp, Nelson showed vast improvement compared to his days in the AAF, and much credit is due to the coaching staff in Dallas, and having Landry Jones there to mentor him definitely helps. I believe Nelson will be more than capable of commanding the offense, especially since the offensive scheme plays to his skill set.

I’ve told you about Nelson’s accomplishments during his young career so maybe you don’t know enough about the Renegades starting quarterback just yet.

But I can tell you one thing, that question will be answered in full detail come Sunday at 4PM central standard time, as the Renegades take the field looking to secure their first win of the season and in XFL history.

Potential QB2’s who could be targeted via Trade

Teams are wrapping up their preparation for the opening weekend of the XFL. With the league just being two days away from launch, teams are naming their starters and releasing their depth charts for Week 1.

We all know speculation can help fuel the excitement especially when it is something new. So I am here to stir the pot. (None of the information read below is sourced, just fun speculation.)

Quarterback is easily the most important position on the field, and as the old adage goes “if you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterback.” Not the case in the XFL.

Traditionally, teams would carry two quarterbacks on their depth chart like the DC Defenders, Houston Roughnecks, and Seattle Dragons. Going against the traditional grain by carrying 3-4 quarterbacks on their depth chart are the Vipers (4), Battlehawks (3), Guardians (3), Wildcats (3), and the Renegades (3). What does this provide the league? Depth at the quarterback position.

Quarterback play is what carries the NFL or any professional/amateur league. It can not be explained, it just does.

Seeing a perfectly thrown pass hit a wide receiver right in the hands for a touchdown is what gets fans out of their seats, and it can be mesmerizing at times. Those are the moments fan bases live for. It has become the highlight of football.

Since each team provides so much depth at quarterback, I believe in the XFL’s inaugural season we will see several of these quarterbacks on the move. Let’s do a short list of QB’s who could potentially be traded to another team within the opening months of the season.

(Again, this all just speculation)

Connor Cook - Houston Roughnecks
Connor Cook – Houston Roughnecks

CONNOR COOK

QB PJ Walker was assigned to the Houston Roughnecks during the draft. Walker and Cook battled it out during  mini camp and training camp as head coach June Jones wanted to see who would be the catalyst behind his high powered offense. Rumors out of camp stated that the Roughnecks were going to name PJ Walker the starting quarterback come Week 1. Well that news broke last week. With Walker officially being named the starter, Cook in my opinion would be one of my top trade targets if I was a team looking to for competition at the QB1 spot, or an reliable option as a QB2. Cook was a proven winner at Michigan State, but his NFL career did not pan out the way many draft experts and analyst expected. The quarterback was drafted by the Oakland Raiders back in 2016 and spent two seasons with the team but was later released after the Oakland Raiders traded for AJ McCarron. Cook also had stints with the Cincinnatti, Carolina, and his last NFL stop was in Detroit in 2019. Not only would he provide experience but also a veteran presence in the locker room. Of course if traded the Roughnecks would have to fill the QB2 spot, but trading multiple quarterbacks for one, isn’t necessarily unmarked territory. The Wildcats traded Luis Perez to the Guardians for two quarterbacks earlier this offseason. I’m sure it can happen again.

POTENTIAL TRADE DESTINATIONS

Dallas Renegades, Seattle Dragons

 

Taylor Heinicke - St. Louis BattleHawks
Taylor Heinicke – St. Louis BattleHawks

TAYLOR HEINICKE 

With Heinicke having NFL in game experience and the BattleHawks naming him QB2 behind starting quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, any team in the market for a quarterback with experience should definitely consider Heinicke as a trade target. Heinicke has spent time with the Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, and the Carolina Panthers. During his time with the Panthers he recorded his lone NFL start throwing for 274 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions against the Atlanta Falcons. He was injured in the game and could not finish the season due to the extent of his elbow injury. He was waived by the Panthers in August 2019. Shortly after, he was drafted by the Battlehawks in the XFL Supplemental draft. I believe Heinicke would be a solid pick up for any team just because of his experience in the NFL. As a rookie Heinicke was apart of a position battle for the backup job in Minnesota which he was competing against veteran Shaun Hill and Mike Kafka. He eventually won the QB3 spot and stayed on the active roster during his entire tenure with the Vikings. That alone should shed some light on Heinicke’s talent level.

POTENTIAL TRADE DESTINATIONS

LA Wildcats, Houston Roughnecks

 

Tyree Jackson - DC Defenders
Tyree Jackson – DC Defenders

TYREE JACKSON

During the NFL Draft evaluation, Jackson was seen as a quarterback who could improve on throwing the football but checked all the boxes athletically. Jackson is 6’7 249 lb quarterback who boast 4.5 speed and has the ability to make defenders miss but can dish out contact. It is a reason why the DC Defenders drafted Jackson due to the many similarities style wise with starter Cardale Jones. The Defenders will likely be a team that will utilize their quarterbacks legs. If you look around the league there are many teams I feel that will possibly do the same. Jackson would be on my short list just because of his ability to create plays with his legs. If any offense begins to struggle in the running game once the season gets going I believe they will reach out to DC to see if they would be willing to trade Jackson.

POTENTIAL TRADE DESTINATIONS

Houston Roughnecks, St. Louis BattleHawks

 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the teams in the XFL will have to allow the season to play out in order for either of these scenarios to come to fruition, but I honestly believe that these three quarterbacks listed above could potentially make their first XFL start sooner rather than later. At the end of the day, fan bases demand exceptional quarterback play. Not only do the teams in this league have capable starters at quarterback, but they also have the depth at the position to keep fans excited about their respective teams. The XFL not only is re-imagining the way football is played but also remembering that quarterback play is king when it is all said and done.

(See just a little speculation to get you excited for the season)

XFL Supplemental Draft Spotlight: Meet Defensive Back Foster Reznor

Foster Reznor

The XFL supplemental draft is only 2 days away, XFL Training Camp is 45 days away, and the XFL will kickoff its first season 80 days from now!

We are halfway there and everything is beginning to feel so surreal.

Players who have been drafted, and who will participate in the supplemental draft have been preparing for the upcoming season and you can feel the enthusiasm.

Like Foster Reznor,  5’11 185 lb defensive back out of Gannon University, who plays with so much energy and enthusiasm. From watching his film I know he plans to bring that aspect of his game to the XFL.

Since he was a child, he has dreamt of the opportunity to play football professionally. “I have always had the dream of playing football at the highest level since I was young kid,” said Reznor. “Growing up I fell in love with the game and dedicated a lot of time to it.”

Reznor had a stellar high school career splitting time at running back and defensive back racking up the accolades. He received all-state honors as an offensive specialist, and was a three time all region first team selection as a running back and defensive back. He accumulated 4,804 all purpose yards and 54 touchdowns on offense along with 128 tackles and 11 interceptions on defense.

Reznor said he liked to play running back and wide receiver but instead of receiving the contact, he wanted to administer the contact. “Growing up, I was always a running back or wide receiver, but I always enjoyed contact,” said Reznor.

“My coaches put me at corner in high school and it was over from there. I loved following the other team’s best receiver and competing.”

He may have been really good at running back and wide receiver, but defensive back is his true calling.

During his collegiate career at Gannon, Reznor compiled 160 tackles, 24 pass break-ups, 3 interceptions, 4 tackles for loss, forced 1 fumble, recovered a fumble, and received NCAA Division II ADA Academic Achievement Award.

Reznor mentioned Tyrann Mathieu and Mike Hilton as who he models his game after. “Both players have the innate ability to create turnovers, make tackles in open space, and are very good at disguising coverages, which are all attributes you need to have to be an elite defensive back,” said Reznor. “Both guys are very similar to me in size and always find ways to be around the football.”

Another skill-set he would like to bring to a team is his fiery competitiveness. “I am a player that hates to lose more than he likes to win,” said Reznor. “I like to pay attention to the details, paying attention to the details is what separates good players from the great ones.” This reigns true as well all know football is a game of inches and paying attention to details can certainly provide your team with an advantage.

Along with being a very competitive player, his “team first” mindset is something he believes will separate him from the other XFL hopefuls. “I love seeing my teammates succeed. I am somebody that tries to bring the best out in everyone, whether that is on the football field or outside of football.”

Competitiveness and continuity within a locker room can certainly help mold the identity of a football team.

At first, Reznor admits he wasn’t sure if his dream was realistic, but following his senior season at Gannon Reznor received an opportunity to showcase his skills.

“I was unsure of how realistic it could be, but during my collegiate career I realized that it was more than possible. After my senior year I participated in multiple pro-days where I tested well and received a lot of recognition,” Reznor said “It was really cool seeing how well I tested in comparison to other athletes that were being considered in the NFL Draft.”

Reznor believes the XFL is an opportunity of a lifetime, and had a similar response to many of the players who have either been drafted or expect to be drafted this upcoming Friday.

“The XFL is a league that is going to be successful,” said Reznor. “They have some of the top coaches and players in the country that are a part of this league. This an opportunity to compete with some of the best athletes in the country.”

Reznor doesn’t have an ideal landing spot but wants all eight XFL teams to know one thing. “Which ever team takes a chance on me is a place where I want to be. The team that selects me is going to get the best version of me. I’m going to do the right things on and off the football field and I will be a player that competes every day and will not take the opportunity for granted.”

Reznor in my opinion can bring several attributes to your football team, but what I like most about Foster are the intangibles he provides. Not only is he talented but he also has a leadership mentality and would run through a wall for his team no matter the cost.

That is the type of player the XFL wanted, and that is the type of player Foster Reznor continues to be.

I would like to wish Foster the best of luck on Friday and I look forward to seeing you bring tenacity and enthusiasm to which ever team decides to select you in the XFL Supplemental Draft.

YouTube video

 

XFL Supplemental Draft Spotlight- Meet Tight End Kalias Robertson

Kalias Robertson

The XFL supplemental draft is less than three days away and prospects are being invited daily. With announcements about mini camp, training camp, and uniforms on the way, the true focus should remain on the talent the XFL has been able to acquire.

One of those talented players is 6-4 187 lb tight end Kalias Robertson who made a name for himself at Alabama A&M as a pass catching tight end who has the ability to separate and generate yards after the catch.  Robertson is very excited about this opportunity of continuing his career and becoming an effective asset for whichever team calls his name this upcoming Friday.

“The most exciting part about having the opportunity to suit up and play for the XFL is being apart of a new league and getting another chance,” Robertson said. “My family will be able to attend more games, and I’ll have another chance chasing my dreams.”

At an early age Robertson was all about putting in the hard work to achieve his dream of playing football professionally. “During high school I put in a tremendous amount of work which led me to have multiple scholarships to play college football. I knew I wanted to take my game to a different level.”

Robertson mentions his grandfather’s daily motivation as a tool he has used to make it thus far in his young career. “My grandfather motivated me almost everyday letting me know constantly that I could do anything I put my mind to.”

Well it seems his grandfather’s motivation worked. Robertson is now on the brink of bringing his childhood dream to fruition, and he believes the XFL is the best chance to showcase his talent. He also believes the XFL will be a spring football league that will work. “I really believe in the XFL. There are professionals behind the scenes to make sure everything is being done correctly for future success.”

“I chose the XFL because I think this league is about promise and chance. They have great coaches and executives in place to make sure the players and talent in this league succeed.”

That is definitely saying a lot, since the XFL has placed several people with football acumen and a track record of success at the helm of the league. Most notably Oliver Luck who once was the Athletic Director for the University of West Virginia, and Bob Stoops, former head coach on at the University of Oklahoma who assumed the head coaching and general manager position for the Dallas Renegades as the league bega

Robertson believes his unique skill set will fit best in the Air Raid, but ultimately would like to end up in the right situation where most of his skills will stand out.

“I would love to play in an Air Raid styled offense because I am a pass-catching tight end. But, I am hoping to end up where God puts me,” Robertson said. “I am a very hard worker and I will do anything to make sure my job is done.”

That is exactly what the new XFL is all about. Hard work and showcasing yourself on the gridiron.

When asked which team he wanted to draft him, Robertson responded with great humility, “I wouldn’t mind ending up in LA with the Wildcats. Seattle and Dallas would be nice as well, but I would be grateful to be apart of any team that takes a chance on me.”

An ideal response from a class act player. Whoever selects Robertson will definitely have a special player on their hands.

Selfishly, I am hoping he is selected by the Dallas Renegades as I think he will be a great addition to the current roster in place and has the work ethic that could be contagious to others in the locker room.

How will the Dallas Renegades win the battle? In the trenches…

It’s a wrap for phase two of the XFL draft and the Renegades roster is beginning to take shape.

In phase one, the Renegades main focus was clear. Speed is what they wanted and speed is what they got. In phase two,  the clear message Stoops and the Renegades are sending is that this team will be fast and  physical.

Where there is thunder, there is lightening.

The line of scrimmage is the “velvet rope” in VIP, the offensive line plays the role of the bouncer, and you will not get past the rope if your name is not on the list. Once you get your quarterback, and the offense is laced with several play makers, you add the muscle. The average weight of the offensive lineman selected in phase two is 312 lbs. Their combined weight is 3,126 lbs. That’s a lot of muscle.

Willie Beavers, offensive tackle from Western Michigan, headlined the first round of phase two. Beavers during his time at Western Michigan was named to the All MAC team twice and helped his running back win all conference honors as well.

Pace Murphy, offensive tackle from Northwestern State University, was the second round pick for the Renegades in phase two. Murphy was also a standout at Northwestern State earning Preseason All American honors and Pre-Season All-Southland Conference honors.

Beavers and Murphy will be the bookend couple at the tackle position that will put a bubble of protection around Landry Jones.

The heartbeat of the running game will consist of Maurquice Shakir (Midd Tenn State), Alex Balducci (Oregon) , and Josh Allen (Louisiana Monroe).

Shakir as a senior played more than 90 snaps in four games, and was an integral part of an offense that produced a 1,000 yard rusher.

Balducci, an converted defensive lineman turned guard will bring the same tenacity he did in the collegiate ranks, after earning All-Pac 12 honors for his efforts on the defensive line for his senior season.

Allen, product of Cedar Hill high school 20 minutes South of Dallas, earned All-Sun Belt honors during his junior season at Louisiana Monroe. He was apart of an offense that produce more than 500 total yards of offense in four of the first five games of the 2012-2013 season.

This offensive line is stacked with big bodies and bullies in the trenches on the offensive side.

In Phase three of the draft, let’s see what type of “war-daddies” Stoops can add to this very promising roster.

#RaisingHell Go Renegades!

Renegades #RaisingHell in XFL Draft Phase One

Phase 1 of the XFL draft is in the books and the Renegades made the most out of their selections.

The Renegades constructed an offensive coaching staff based around the ideal concepts of the Air Raid offense by hiring Bob Stoops and naming Hal Mumme the offensive coordinator. Now they have the on-field personnel to boot.

The Renegades will have a loaded running backs room with selections of running backs Cameron Artis-Payne, Dimitri Flowers and Lance Dunbar. All three running backs possess the ability to catch the ball, avoid tackles in open space, and breakaway speed.

With the selections of wide receivers Jeff Badet, return specialist TommyLee Lewis, Kelvin McKnight, and Stacy Coley, the Renegades will not lack in the yards after catch department.

The Renegades also doubled up on tight ends by selecting Sean Price and Donald Parham.

With Landry Jones at helm as the franchise quarterback, I am sure Stoops and his coaching staff are thrilled to see what this core can bring to their football club once training camp opens.

The most intriguing selection in my opinion was their selection of quarterback Phillip Nelson in the 7th round. It is clear the Renegades would like to add a level of depth to their offense and quarterback room. It is never a bad thing to have a back up who can come in take over while the offense never skips a beat.

In my opinion, the Renegades have accomplished the main goal of phase one, lock down the franchise guy, cater to the scheme, and provide depth at the most important position.

Now as phase two of the draft approaches, it’s time for the Renegades to go out and get some bullies on the offensive line to give their franchise quarterback time to deliver strikes, provide running room for this talented group of running backs, and to keep Jones upright. This is just the beginning.

Go Renegades! #RaisingHell

The eyes of Texas are upon the XFL

Jerrod Heard – TexasSports.com

Saturday at 12 o’clock central standard time, the Longhorns and Sooners will battle for bragging rights and the golden hat, but mostly for bragging rights.

I emphasize “bragging rights” because that’s truly what the Red River Showdown is all about.

Even after players finish their collegiate careers at their respective universities, the rivalry continues to live on when former Sooners and Longhorns come together.

The likelihood of seeing this during next week’s XFL draft is highly likely.

In honor of the Red River Showdown, I want to highlight two former players from both universities and their success during this historical match-up, who are hoping to hear their name called come draft day.

JERROD HEARD

In 2015, Jerrod Heard stepped on the “40 acres” as a two time Texas state champion from Denton Guyer where he broke several records and was one of the best quarterbacks in the country.

Prior to the season starting, Heard lost the quarterback competition against Tyrone Swoopes.  Only to replace Swoopes after a lopsided loss to Notre Dame to start the season.

Heard, continued to utilize his dual threat style of play against the Rice Owls and again against the Cal Golden Bears accounting for 527 yards of total offense, breaking former Texas quarterback Vince Young single game record in a 45-44 loss.

For his fourth career start, Heard had to face the #10 Oklahoma Sooners. Heard and the Texas Longhorns entered that game as underdogs, and head coach Charlie Strong was under immense pressure to win against their bitter rivals after losing two consecutive games.

With pressure at its highest, the freshman quarterback answered the call.

Heard only attempted 11 passes but threw a touchdown, and was able to utilize his running ability again being one of two Longhorns to run for over 100 yards, in their 24-17 victory over the 10th ranked Sooners.

The Longhorns finished that season with a 5-7 record. The Longhorns fired Strong and hired the hot commodity in coaching, Tom Herman.

Heard went on to finish his collegiate career at Texas as a wide receiver totaling 45 receptions 425 and 4 touchdowns.

RYAN BROYLES

Ryan Broyles – Credit

The two time All-American, real estate developer in Oklahoma, and now XFL hopeful, last played professional football in 2015.

Broyles, a product of Norman, played defensive back and wide receiver in High School, finished his career with 79 receptions 1,688 yards and 18 touchdowns on offense and recorded 157 tackles and 20 interceptions on defense. He was named OCA All-State in football, and also a standout in track and field being one of the state’s top performers in high jump.

The instant he suited up for the Sooners he was a star, recording 7 receptions and 141 yards, both freshman school records, against the University of Cincinnati. He finished the 2008 season setting multiple freshman records, including tying the record for receptions in a lone season (46) and receiving yards (687) and touchdowns (6).

In his sophomore season he recorded 76 receptions for 964 yards and 12 touchdowns. In the season finale in the Sun Bowl vs Stanford Broyles received the honor of being name Sun Bowl MVP after totaling 13 catches for 156 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Although Broyles was highly productive , his stats against the Longhorns were not as impressive as they were against other teams.

In 2008,  the Sooners lost to the Longhorns 45-35. He recorded 5 receptions for 36 yards and 1 TD. In 2009, the Sooners lost to the Longhorns again in a close game 16-13. He recorded 2 receptions for 33 yards and 1 TD. (Lowest receptions recorded playing Texas) In 2010,  his Sooners finally got the “monkey off their back” and beat the Longhorns, but Broyles only recorded 5 receptions for 36 yards and 1 touchdown.

Keep in mind 2010 was the best year he had statistically, leading the FBS in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. He also entered the season as a preseason All-American and finished the season first team All-Big 12.

In 2011, he flipped the script.

Broyles went off for a game-high nine receptions for 122 yards and 1 touchdown against Texas leading his team to a 55-17 victory against the Longhorns.

He went on to finish his career breaking the record for career receptions in the FBS, recording 349 receptions (now 3rd) and receiving, recording 4,586 yards (now 3rd).  His record of 4,586 yards still stands as the most yards ever recorded by a receiver in the Big 12.

Drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft (54th overall), Broyles played two full seasons with the Lions, and in 2015 decided to focus on life outside of football.

Broyles has elected to come out of retirement to enlist his services to one of the eight teams in the XFL, and I am sure he will find a home where he can have just as much impact on his new team as he did when he played for the University of Oklahoma.

In conclusion, this rivalry has provided more than exciting moments in football history, elite talent, and intense battles for the golden hat.

A trophy? No. This is much more than a trophy. This is about the chance to dig at your arch nemesis each and every year. This is about being able to say “my team got the better of your team” for the next 365 days.

I am sure the two players I highlighted, are prepared to bring that same intensity from their collegiate rivalry to the XFL.