Tight End Dimitrios Tsesmetzis soon to join the DC Defenders

Dimitrios Tsesmetzis catces a pass at the New York XFL Summer Showcase.
Dimitrios Tsesmetzis catches a pass at the New York XFL Summer Showcase.

As a youngster growing up in upstate New York, Dimitrios Tsesmetzis started playing football. He mostly played on offense, in the positions of left tackle and guard. However, as he grew older, he became lankier and longer.

“I was a very short, heavy-set kid. I made it all the way to freshman year (of high school) playing left tackle,” Dimitrios explained. “Then from freshman year to sophomore year, I went from 5’10” to 6’4″. My coach told me to go out and catch a ball. I caught my first ball and then he was like, all right, play tight end. And that’s where it all started.”

Once Tsesmetzis started playing tight end, his height, coupled with his wide wingspan, became his on-field weapons. Currently, Tsesmetzis stands 6’7″ with cleats on.

After high school, Dimitrios played for the Division 3 Western Connecticut State University Colonials. When he emerged from college, he was hungry for a pro-football career and was faced with the challenge of finding a spot on a roster. He was passed over in the NFL draft, but was eventually selected by the San Antonio Commanders in the Alliance of American Football. Unfortunately, Dimitrios only made it through the first Commander’s mini-camp before being cut.

Dimitrios refers to his time with the Commanders with a positive attitude. “Definitely a great experience,” he said. “It showed me what I needed to work on. I got right back into the gym, worked on all of it. Got right mentally, especially.”

From this learning experience, Dimitrios played with the Spring League in Austin, Texas in April 2019. In some way, this led to two separate XFL Summer Showcase invitations, in New York and Houston. Tsesmetzis chose to go to the showcase in New York, mainly because it was closer to home.

Dimitrios performed well at the showcase, and interest in his skills flourished. Later in the fall, he was invited to the XFL draft, where he was selected by the DC Defenders in the open phase of the draft.

On the first day of the XFL draft, Dimitrios and his father followed the picks closely. However, they did not hear Dimitrios’ name called on the first day, so they planned to follow the open draft picks on day two.

“I think that the open draft wasn’t live, so I was just waiting around,” Dimitrios explained. “It was raining really hard one day, and I was on my way to the training facility. Someone DM’d me a picture, and it was that the Defenders had picked me.”

When asked if he was ready for the Defenders first mini-camp in December, Dimitrios was quick to respond. “Definitely,” he said. “I’ve been preparing since I got the call.”

Demetrious is also enthusiastic to be able to learn from the Defenders head coach Pep Hamilton, assistant head coach Brent Battle and tight ends coach Chris Scelfo.

“I know that when we get the mini-camp we’re going to put in the work and we’re going to be the best team in the XFL,” Dimitrios added.

The entire interview with Dimitrios Tsesmetzis may be found in XFL Xtra Episode 10-2019 – Breaking in

 

Drafted Twice. Defensive Lineman Kristjan Sokoli goes to the XFL DC Defenders

Kristjan Sokoli Seahawks

Born in Albania, Kristjan Sokoli is the son of Albanian immigrants. When Kristjan came to America at nine-years old, he was an avid soccer fan. However, he later fell in love with football after he witnessed his cousin playing the game.

“I was really crazy about soccer,” Kristjan said. “At about 12-13 years old, I started watching my cousin play high school football. He played with a tenacity and aggression I really admired.”

With his cousin as his role model, Kristjan began to play football.

After a shining high school football career at Bloomfield High School in Bloomfield, New Jersey, Kristjan was offered a full scholarship at the University of Buffalo in return for playing with the Bulls. Kristjan originally heard about the University of Buffalo offer through his high school football coach, Coach Carter.

“I remember very vividly, he (Carter) calls me, he says, ‘Moose, Buffalo is going to call you in about five minutes. They’re going to offer you a scholarship.'” Sokoli recalled. He also recalled being very eager to accept the offer, especially since attending college was foremost in his mind. “Buffalo was telling me on the phone, we want you to come visit this weekend, make up your mind when you come here… and I’m just, ‘no sir, I’m committing. I’m taking this scholarship.'”

Sokoli claims he didn’t even know where Buffalo was, but a few days later he, his parents, and his brother, went to visit the campus. Kristjan fell in love with a beautiful snowy Buffalo in January, combined with the fact he was being offered a golden opportunity to play football and get a college education.

Although he had played a variety of positions in his high school days, once at Buffalo, Sokoli became a full-time defensive lineman. When he came to Buffalo, he stood at 6’5″ and weighed 220 pounds, however, by the time he was in his junior year, he had grown to 300 pounds. This is when he won a starting position on the defensive line.

“It was wild, but that was a college cafeteria, and getting into my age, I was turning twenty then,” Kristjan explained his weight gain. “Zack Duvall did a great job with us there. He got us bigger, faster, and stronger. Definitely bigger and stronger. For a guy like me, honestly, that program worked.”

For two years, Sokoli was an integral part of a Buffalo pass rush which was led by future first-round draft pick Khalil Mack.

Sokoli’s college career led to him being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. However, the boost of being drafted into the NFL led to a challenge, as the Seahawks wanted Sokoli to play on the other side of the ball and switch to being a center on the offensive line. Kristjan accepted the challenge, but things did not work out.

“I wanted to make it work bad as hell, man,” Kristjan lamented. “Especially going into that second training camp, I just didn’t have a good camp. It just wasn’t consistent enough and I understood why they wanted to go in a different direction.”

Kristjan’s heart told him he was still meant to be a defensive lineman. “I’m meant to be a D-lineman…  I have an attack nature, and an aggressive nature. That’s my mentality. I really felt my best chance was playing defensive line.”

From the Seahawks, Sokoli went to the Colts, Saints and then finally to the Giants… and an opportunity to make the team as a defensive lineman.

“I remained with the Giants throughout their GM changes and coaching changes in the off-season in 2018. I was having a really solid camp actually, and I tore my ACL on the first game,” Kristjan said.

“The first (NFL) training camp at D-line, fourth training game. I finally had a shot to play D line.”

Kristjan is quick to say that he doesn’t consider this to be a “sob story.” He still counts his blessings and points out he has had a lot of breaks in his life and, despite the setbacks, still considers himself to be lucky.

We all know that every setback can be followed by an opportunity, which is what Sokoli found, starting with attending an XFL Summer Showcase, and then being drafted by the DC Defenders in the open phase of the 2019 XFL Draft.

With training camps coming up Kristjan has turned his attention to preparing for football.

“I can’t wait. I’m excited, you know? Four weeks of training here, five weeks maybe before we go into mini camp training,” Sokoli said. “I just feel like I’m in a good place and I’m, I’m around good people and I’m just really excited for the opportunity and the ability to be able to focus.”

“I left my job at Merill Lynch in good terms,” Kristjan said. “I plan to go back when football’s done. But to be able to say that for five weeks, I can just really dial in on football and football only, as a blessing. And to have good people in my corner.”

For now, Kristjan is back to focusing on football, however, he hopes to return to an investor job when football ends.

“I got to get my series seven, and I tested two days ago, and I passed that. So, I was really excited to get that done,” Kristjan said, referring to passing his test to become a registered financial representative. “I definitely plan to be back in that after football.”

Smartly, Kristjan has leveraged the Business Administration degree he received at the University of Buffalo into a budding career. In fact, when Sokoli got the news of being drafted to the XFL, he was driving home from a job at Merrill Lynch. Now, he has put his business career on hiatus, just so he can return to professional football.

He feels he could help young footballers invest their money, just so they have a nest egg after the football money dries up.

“Two or three-hundred grand invested wisely could mean $15-$20,000 a year for the rest of your life… and then as that money grows, it becomes $30,000 a year the rest of your life.”

Kristjan is not just a great football player. He’s also smart with money.

In respect to his football career, a good-natured Kristjan likes to point out a bit of trivia.

“I think I’m one of the very few athletes, I guess, with the privilege of being drafted twice,” a jovial Sokoli pointed out. “It’s very cool.”

To hear the entire interview with Kristjan Sokoli, check out Episode 9 of our XFL Xtra podcast.

Anthony Johnson receives a professional football opportunity with the Seattle Dragons

Anthony Johnson
#91 Anthony Johnson (FIU Athletics)

On October 16th, in the 13th round of the open phase of the XFL draft, Defensive Lineman Anthony Johnson was selected by the Seattle Dragons. When Anthony found out he had been picked, he was washing his car.

“Throughout the whole day, once the fourth phase that ended with the corners and safeties and all that, I was waiting for a little while. I was just getting too impatient and I actually went and washed my car,” Anthony said. “I was vacuuming out my car, just to kill some time and to get my mind off of things. And as soon as I got done, I sat down in my car and I turned my car on and then I finally got the phone call.”

Even a defensive lineman can be a little nervous when it comes to waiting for a phone call that will tell them they get a chance to play the game they have loved since childhood.

Anthony began playing football when he was about four or five years old. He started off as a safety, and then as a receiver, but as he grew older, and grew larger, coaches began to place him on the defensive line. By the time he graduated from Camden County High School in Kingsland, Georgia, he was given a good look by many college recruiters. Anthony chose to join the Florida International University Panthers.

In his junior year with the Panthers, Anthony began to earn a starting position on the team. That same year he appeared in eleven games, getting the starting nod seven times. He recorded 39 total tackles and tallied seven sacks, which was a tie for the team lead. Then, in his senior year, Anthony appeared in thirteen games at defensive tackle, making 12 starts on the defensive line, and recorded a total of 40 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

After graduation, Anthony was excited to be invited to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie mini-camp.

“It was a good experience. I had a great time,” Anthony said. “You know, just my short time of being with them, I learned the ins and outs… and what to expect from being in the NFL and playing professional ball.”

However, after the mini-camp ended, and no NFL contract was offered, Anthony started to look at other leagues. In consultation with his agent, he applied for an XFL playing position. A little later, he was told he was invited to the Summer Showcase in Tampa Bay, and the rest his history as Anthony’s showcase performance led to him being drafted by the Seattle Dragons.

When asked what excites him about the XFL, Anthony said, “What excites me the most is that it’s a new league. Being able to say that I was one of those stepping stones to help get this league started is pretty cool. I’m excited to see where this goes and witness where it actually takes me.”

At his time at FIU, Anthony put in over 400 hours of community service by visiting children’s hospitals and talking with schoolkids at a local middle school. Now, Anthony also wants to continue to have a role in the community by supporting at-risk children.

“Growing up I didn’t have too much of that, and I could see the way that can impact a child’s life,” Anthony explained. “A lot of the kids that I work with are at-risk children and don’t really have a father figure at home… you know, mom always working or different things like that. So, I just feel like giving back.”

“Just being able to see the smile on kids’ faces just makes my day,” Anthony added.

For his work with at-risk children Anthony is even working hard to establish a charitable organization named “The Gut Foundation,” named for the nickname a college teammate gave him in his junior year.

“We were short defensive tackles, and I knew I had to put on some weight just to get the opportunity to get on the field. So, I put on about 25 pounds,” Anthony explained.

One of his teammates Chris Miller, encouraged him by saying, “You got to feed that gut!” Soon, Anthony became known as “The Gut,” a nickname he proudly retains to this day.

In fact, his Twitter handle is @TheGut91. Check it out, and follow along, as Anthony enters training camp with the Seattle Dragons.

Hear an entire interview with Anthony Johnson in episode 8 of our XFL Xtra podcast.

 

Andre Williams is a Roughneck through and through

Andre Williams (bcinterruption.com)

Houston Roughnecks running back Andre Williams’ interest in football came from watching his brother play the game.  Andre was further inspired to be a running back by professional players who appeared on his television.

“I started watching professional football. I was looking at running backs like Tiki Barber and Chris Martin and those guys, and later on, Adrian Peterson. I just always loved that position.”

Still, it was his brother that first inspired Andre. In the most powerful homage ever, Andre wears “44” on his jersey, which was the same number his brother wore.

After a spectacular High School career, Andre reportedly had offers from colleges like Temple, Akron and Vanderbilt, but he chose to committ to Boston College.

“I liked the conference,” Andre said. “Being able to play in the ACC, I figured I’d be up and down the coast… we played Clemson, we played Florida State… sometimes North Carolina and Duke.  I thought it was a great conference, and a great opportunity to go to a school like BC.”

After a lackluster season in 2012, Andre remembers that everything came together in 2013, his senior season, where he put up 2177 rushing yards at a 6.1 yards per carry average, and 18 touchdowns.  He soon found himself as one of six finalists for the Heisman Trophy that year, and finished fourth in voting.

When asked what he would do with the Heisman Trophy, if he won, Andre gave credit to his teammates by remarking he would, “Chop it up and give each of the offensive linemen a piece of the trophy.”

After college, Andre was selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the New York Giants. In his rookie year, he was the Giants leading rusher with 721 yards and 7 touchdowns. However, after having to share rushing duties with Rashaad Jennings in his sophomore season, his time in New York came to an end.

“Man, that was my first experience, my first love with the NFL game. And yes, you know, it came and went,” Andre said. “There is a lot of things, like the one with the roster, and with the business of football. It becomes a business.”

“You know, it’s not so much about camaraderie and it’s not so much of, you know, a great team, and win with your brothers and all that,” Andre philosophized. “It’s about entertainment, it’s about superstars, it’s about money. You know, some people get to ride it for a while. Some people get to ride it for short time. I was one of those guys that got to ride it for a short time. But, I was still able to get in there and leave my mark and, you know, continue to build on what I started.”

Andre still laments leaving the Giants, but he is able to put a positive spin on this part of his football career. “I’ve got a hole in my heart, because I thought I would be there longer,” Andre said. “But it was two years and everything happens for a reason.”

After the Giants, Andre was picked up by the Chargers. However, after damaging ligaments in his wrist, his time with the Chargers also came to an end.

After taking a year off football, Andre was invited to workout at the XFL Summer Showcase in New York. Andre eagerly jumped at the chance to show he was ready to continue his football career. He was also surprised to see how coaches and staff from the Giants were now working for the XFL.

Andre wondered if this helped his chances of being drafted, but he does feel that “everything happens for a reason.”

It was on October 15th, during the “Skilled Player” round of the XFL draft, that Andre received a call from the Houston Roughnecks.

“It wasn’t New York that called me,” Andre said. “It was Houston. I am so very thankful to be a Houston Roughneck. And if anybody really knows me… and they actually saw how I play… I only know one way to play… I’m a Roughneck through and through.”

Hear Andre Williams’s entire interview in our 20 October Podcast – “XFL Xtra Episode 7-2019 – 568 Players – Andre Williams and Mike Mitchell

 

Carlos Thompson hopes to go from “Last Chance U” to the XFL

Carlos Thompson, a wide receiver who hails from Houston, Texas, is best known as being featured as a player for the Independence Community College Pirates on season three of the Netflix series “Last Chance U”.

In 2017, as Carlos and his teammates were preparing for the football season, Netflix camera crews showed up. “It was just crazy,” Carlos said. “One day they just showed up with a bunch of trucks and everything and people started hopping out with cameras.”

According to Carlos, that event started a season where the team had cameras following them around almost 24/7.

“We had cameras following us just about every day, every second of the day. If you were waking up out of your room, or going to class, practice, anything like that, there was a camera,” Carlos explained. “It took some getting used to, you know, being on camera and just walking around having microphones and people around at all times.”

When asked about the gritty nature of the show, Carlos felt it showed exactly what it was like to be on a Junior College football team. “It shows the ups and the downs of JUCO, just how it really does get with just having to deal with certain struggles that you don’t have to deal with at universities.”

YouTube video

After his time at Independence, Carlos played with the Missouri Western State Griffons, where he was enthusiastic about his experience.

“That was also a great experience,” Carlos explained. “Just a great experience with great fans and great facilities and just great coaches. Everything about the school was a great experience.”

After one year at Missouri Western State, Carlos decided to forego his senior season and declared for the 2019 NFL draft.

“I was ready just to take that next step in my life, and chase a dream that I had been wanting ever since I was a small kid.”

Unfortunately, Carlos is still waiting to fulfil his dream to play professional football. However, after working out in a Spring League showcase, the XFL is now interested in his services. Carlos hopes to be selected by a team in next week’s XFL draft. He is confident he will be an asset to whatever team chooses him to be a part of their roster.

“Whatever team I end up on, I’m going to be not only just a great football player, but a great player in the community, and a great teammate, and a hard worker,” Carlos said. “I’m going to be somebody who can come in and just go to work and be a great presence in the community, just showing the children and all the fans and everybody that I care about the team and the city.”

When asked about the specific rules of the XFL, and the plans for a shortened play clock, Carlos revealed that he was part of a Spring League squad that helped test the XFL rules.

“I’ve actually gotten to experience the shortened clock just a little at the Spring League showcase. They were implementing some of the XFL rules,” Carlos explained. “You’re going to have to be in top shape, because you’re going to run one play and get right back on the line and be ready to go.”

Soon, at the XFL draft, we will see just how interested the XFL is about getting Carlos on a roster.

Carlos has the skills, he has the energy, and he also has confidence. When asked if we will witness him catching long balls for the XFL this February, he responded, “Yes sir we will. Yes sir.”

To hear more of the interview with Carlos Thompson, check out our XFL Xtra podcast “XFL Xtra Episode 6-2019 – Here comes the draft! – Carlos Thompson and Greg Parks”

 

XFL Draft Eligible Players

The XFL Draft will be held on 15-16 October, 2019. As the XFL releases the list of draft eligible players, they will be added to this page.

  • You may search the database, Example: enter QB in the search box.
  • Click on column headers to sort the column.

Updated 11 October 2019

FIRST NAMELAST NAMEPOSNCOLLEGE
KhalidAbdullahRBJames Madison
DevinAbrahamSAFSouth Florida
KendallAdamsSAFKansas State
TonyAdamsOGNC State
JarellAddoSAFUMass
JudeAdjei-BarimahCBBowling Green
PatrickAfriyieLBColgate
JordanAgasivaOTUtah
RobertoAguayoKFlorida State
WalvenskiAimeDTFlorida State
FrankAlexanderDEOklahoma
DonnieAlexanderLBLSU
TerrenceAlexanderCBLSU
DeontezAlexanderWRFranklin College
JustinAlexandreDEIncarnate Word
AustinAllenQBArkansas
FloydAllenWROle Miss
JulianAllenTESouthern Miss
DejonAllenOGHawaii
TyAllenOCTennessee State
JoshAllenOGLouisiana Monroe
BrysonAllen-WilliamsLBSouth Carolina
AnthonyAmosWRMiddle Tennessee State
SiupeliAnauDTNorthern Arizona
RyanAndersonPRutgers
KevinAndersonQBFordham
Kiante'AndersonDEEast Carolina
DrewAndersonQBMurray State
RyanAndersonOTWake Forest
AndrewAnkrahDEJames Madison
AustinApplebyQBFlorida
MarcusApplefieldOGVirginia
KareemAreOGFlorida State
CameronArtis-PayneRBAuburn
RichardAshDTWestern Michigan
NateAskewTETexas A&M
DravonAskew-HenrySAFWest Virginia
JoshAugustaDTMissouri
DemarcusAyersWRHouston
ShermanBadieRBTulane
DrewBaileyDTLouisville
TannerBalderreeTEBYU
AlexBalducciOGOregon
ParkerBaldwinSAFSan Diego State
MarcusBallSAFMemphis
JoshBanderasLBNebraska
JonathanBanksRBTulane
JoshBanksDEWake Forest
BrandonBarnesTEAlabama State
TavarisBarnesDEClemson
TJBarnesDTGeorgia Tech
BrandonBarnesTEAlabama State
JohnBaronKSan Diego State
KirkBarronOGPurdue
TylerBaschKMissouri Western
TylerBaschKMissouri Western
KhalilBassLBPortland State
ElijahBattleCBWest Virginia
EmmanuelBealLBOklahoma
DillonBeardTESouthern
SteveBeauharnaisLBRutgers
AbdulBeechamOGKansas State
EricBeiselLBMissouri
MitchellBellOGLouisiana Tech
BrandonBellLBPenn State
MikeBellSAFFresno State
WilsonBellOGFlorida State
AlejandroBennifieldQBChattanooga
DashawnBentonSAFEast Carolina
JonteBerryOTNW Oklahoma State
IanBerrymanPWestern Carolina
EJBibbsTEIowa State
JusticeBishopDEUnion College
FreddieBishopLBWestern Michigan
BryanBluntSAFMcNeese State
TommyBohanonRBWake Forest
RaymondBoldenWRStony Brook
LanardBonnerOTArkansas State
DanteBooker, Jr.LBOhio State
ColeBoozerOTTemple
NoahBordenLSHawaii
JoelBouagnonRBNorthern Illinois
VenzellBoulwareOGTennessee
KevinBowenOTEast Central (OK)
MichaelBowieOTOklahoma State
ToreeBoydOGHoward
DinoBoydOTCincinnati
NateBoyerLSTexas
PaulBoyetteDTTexas
MalikBoyntonCBAustin Peay
JordanBradfordDELouisiana Tech
CarlBradfordLBArizona State
QuintonBradleyDEIdaho
LatariusBradyDTMemphis
WalterBradyDTAkron
DominickBragaloneRBLehigh
JackBramswigWRBoston College
GrantBranchOGEastern Illinois
MarcelisBranchSAFRobert Morris University
AlexBrionesLBCentral Michigan
RomelloBrookerTEHouston
SeanBrownOTMississippi Valley State
LeonBrownOGAlabama
ArthurBrownLBKansas State
CodyBrownSAFArkansas State
FrankBrownWRBethune Cookman
BeniquezBrownLBMississippi State
DonatelloBrownCBValdosta State
DarrellBrownOTLouisiana Tech
AsantayBrownLBWestern Michigan
RyanBroylesWROklahoma
GarrettBrumfieldOCLouisiana State
OmariusBryantDTWestern Kentucky
ChristianBryantSAFOhio State
RayBuchanan JrCBNorthern Iowa
TerranceBullittLBTexas Tech
MalcolmBuncheOGUCLA
FreddieBurdenOCGeorgia Tech
IzaahBurksDTBowling Green
KaelinBurnettLBNevada
JuwannBushell-BeattyOTMichigan
JamesButlerRBNevada
DontezByrdWRTennessee Tech
TreyCaldwellCBLouisiana Monroe
KendallCalhounOTCincinnati
JoeCallahanQBWesley
TereCallowaySAFAlabama A&M
JohnathanCalvinDEMississippi State
BlakeCamperOTSouth Carolina
BryceCanadyCBFlorida International
KDCannonWRBaylor
DeshawnCapers-SmithSAFTexas A&M
TannerCarewLSOregon
ShakirCarrOGCentral Michigan
KJCarta-SamuelsQBColorado State
KyleCarterTEPenn State
CoryCarterPTexas Southern
JonathanCelestinLBMinnesota
JakeCeresnaDECortland State
KyleCerge-HendersonDTGeorgia Tech
OrsonCharlesTEGeorgia
BryceCheekCBAkron
GeraldChristianTELouisville
KyleChungOGVirginia Tech
KaimiChungRBHawaii
AustinCieslakDTNorth Dakota State
MichaelCirinoSAFAdams State
DarionClarkTEUSC
KhairiClarkDTFlorida
CamClearTETexas A&M
SammieCoatesWRAuburn
DavidCobbRBMinnesota
MatthewCohenOCLehigh
MatthewColburnRBWake Forest
ReggieColeCBMary Hardin Baylor
StacyColeyWRMiami (FL)
CJCollinsQBSW Assembly of God
Te'VonConeyLBNotre Dame
ZachConqueTEStephen F. Austin
MattConroyLBSalve Regina
ConnorCookQBMichigan State
JonathanCookSAFMemphis
TimCookRBOregon State
DanielCooneyOTSan Diego
MarshaunCoprichRBIllinois State
WillCorbinOGAppalachian State
TaylorCorneliusQBOklahoma State
DavidCornwellQBEast Central (OK)
JeromeCouplinLBWilliam & Mary
QuaCoxCBJackson State
AnthonyCoyleOTFordham
WinstonCraigDTRichmond
JoshuaCrockettWRCentral Oklahoma
ChristianCronkOGFresno State
MickyCrum IIITELouisville
RyanCummingsOTWyoming
NickD'AvanzoLBNew Mexico
TorreyDaleDEMississippi State
ScottDalyLSNotre Dame
BJDanielsQBSouth Florida
ErickDarganSAFOregon
JordanDascaloPEastern Washington
ChrisDavisCBSouthern Illinois
RyanDavisDEBethune-Cookman
GarrettDavisSAFHouston
DeshaunDavisLBAuburn
RashardDavisWRJames Madison
ConnorDavisTEStony Brook
RyanDavisWRAuburn
ChrisDavisCBAuburn
DavanteDavisWRUNLV
KahlilDawsonWRPortland State
DillonDayOCMississippi State
Gerhardde BeerOTArizona
DillonDeBoerOCFlorida Atlantic
TrestonDecoudCBOregon State
ChaseDeMoorDECentral Washington
RubenDemostheneLBSouthern Nazarene
LukasDenisSAFBoston College
MasonDenleyOGHouston
NoelDevineRBWest Virginia
DelfonteDiamondWRMcMurry
JohnDiarseWRTCU
MarseanDiggsSAFUAB
WinstonDimelRBUTEP
RyanDiSalvoLSSan Jose State
KenzelDoeWRWisconsin
BrianDolceOGAlbany
ThomasDolesOTNorthwestern
MalikDortonDTUSC
BryceDouglasDTNorthern Iowa
KurtisDrummondSAFMichigan State
BJDuboseDTLouisville
CliftonDuckCBAppalachian State
LanceDunbarRBNorth Texas
StevenDunbarWRHouston
EricDungey (to CLE Browns)QBSyracuse
JessamenDunkerOGTennessee State
JaylenDunlapCBIllinois
BrionteDunnRBOhio State
MichaelDunnOTMaryland
TravinDuralWRLouisiana State
LashardDurrCBMississippi State
DonteeaDyeWRHeidelberg
EdEaganWRNorthwestern State
KonyEalyDEMissouri
MatthewEatonWRIowa State
AlecEberleOCFlorida State
BerkleyEdwardsRBMichigan
SaQwanEdwardsSAFNew Mexico
MattElamSAFFlorida
TraeElstonSAFMississippi
AndrewErbesOGUNLV
NicoEvansRBWyoming
AaronEvansOTCentral Florida
DannyEzechukwuDEPurdue
TayoFabulujeOTTCU
IsameFacianeOGFlorida International
BrandonFanaikaOGStanford
ChaseFarrisOTOhio State
KennethFarrowRBHouston
JoshFatuDTUSC
DrewFerrisLSFlorida
BrianFineanganofoOTIdaho State
JamesFisherLSNorth Dakota State
ConnorFlagelDECentral Missouri
DimitriFlowersRBOklahoma
BrianFolkertsOGWashburn
JamesFolstonLBPittsburgh
TareanFolstonRBNotre Dame
MikeFordRBLSU
JacobyFordWRClemson
DontezFordWRPittsburgh
KeithFordRBTexas A&M
ArmantiForemanWRTexas
KhairiForttLBUCLA
JoeFortunatoLSDelaware
ArtrelFoster-BellCBTemple
KhrisFrancisRBNorth Carolina
JarvionFranklinRBWestern Michigan
AndrewFranksKRPI
MarcellFrazierDEMissouri
JabrilFrazierLBBoise State
KeShunFreemanLBGeorgia Tech
ChristianFrenchLBOregon
AustinFreyLSTexas A&M
KristopherFrostLBAuburn
ElliottFryKSouth Carolina
GarrettFugateQBCentral Missouri
JoshGableKNo College
DrewGalitzPBaylor
JordonGandyWRMurray State
Ja'QuanGardnerRBHumboldt State
TimGardnerOGAlcorn State
ColeGardnerOTEastern Michigan
KeyarrisGarrettWRTulsa
TerenceGarvinLBWest Virginia
DeMarquisGatesLBMississippi
QuentinGauseLBRutgers
TylerGauthierOGMiami
WillGearyDTKansas State
YouhannaGhaifanDTWyoming
JustinGibbonsCBAurora
KyleGibsonSAFUCF
OwenGilbertLSMarian
KennanGilchristLBAppalachian State
FrankGindaLBSan Jose State
RandallGoforthSAFUCLA
AustinGolsonOCAuburn
DeAndreGoolsbyTEFlorida
JakhariGoreRBMarian
JoeGoreOTClemson
TysonGrahamSAFSouth Dakota
DoranGrantCBOhio State
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JalenGreeneWRUtah State
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NicholasGrigsbyLBPittsburgh
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LadariusGunterCBMiami (FL)
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AJHantakLSEastern Illinois
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JosephZemaPIncarnate Word
IsaacZicoWRPurdue

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7 October

8 October

9 October

10 October

11 October

Linebacker Eric Beisel wants to bring his leadership and character to the XFL

Credit: columbiamissourian.com

Eric Beisel played his college ball as a linebacker with the University of Missouri Tigers, where he racked up over a hundred tackles. After graduation he played a short stint of football with the Birmingham Iron of the AAF, and “Team Power” of Your Call Football. Now, he has been invited to the XFL draft.

Eric’s hometown is Fenton, Missouri, located just south of St. Louis. In Fenton, he played football, and baseball, for Rockwood Summit High School. In fact, it was during his time with Rockwood Summit’s baseball team that he earned the nickname “Zeus.”

“I inherited the name Zeus from one of my coaches, and another player coach Dave Schroll, and a player named Brandon Henry.” Beisel explained. “I was at bat, and I believe I hit a bomb, and when I stepped on home plate on my way around the bases, someone said that’s ‘baby Zeus’ and it kind of stuck.”

Beisel was appointed captain of his high school football team. “I’m always one of those guys who just puts the team first,” he said. “Mainly because I prioritize, and the number one priority for me is always to win as many games as it takes to win a championship.”

As team captain of the Rockwood Summit Falcons, Beisel would amp up the locker room by playing Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” prior to every game. “Just to get the guys going… bring the positive energy and get everyone pumped up and you’re ready to play the game,” Eric explained. “It’s a team sport. You need all eleven guys on the same page.”

Out of high school Beisel had a lot of offers from colleges such as Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas State, Nebraska and Arizona State. However, he chose the University of Missouri. He would cite Mizzou’s beautiful campus and goal-oriented football program as reasons for choosing to be a Tiger.

At Mizzou, Beisel maintained his hard-working attitude and was even voted-in as team captain in his senior year.

In 2016, as the Tiger’s final home game against the Arkansas Razorbacks approached, a colorful Beisel was seen on camera referring to the team as “Ar-Kansas.” This caused a major stir in the media, and created an important pre-game hype that somehow led the Mizzou Tigers to a 28-24 win over the superior Razorbacks.

When referred to as a “genius” for riling up his team, Beisel was quick to point out it was a superior team effort that was actually responsible for the win. “It was a really good game all across the board. J’Mon Moore had a stand out game, Aarion Penton with the interception in the end zone, Donavin Newsom with a ton of tackles, and all across the board, everyone showed up for that last game.”

Beisel is no stranger to disappointment, as he was expecting to be drafted by the Arizona Cardinals, but it never happened. “As much as they had communicated with me and my agent at the time, that fell through.” Beisel’s reaction to the setback was to go back into the gym. “I just kept training and training, and what I’d like to call patiently working,” he explained. “Just working and working.”


To hear a longer interview with Eric Beisel, please refer to our Podcast.

Beisel had a short stint with the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football. When the AAF folded, he found himself playing with “Your Call Football” in Jacksonville, Florida, as captain of “Team Power.”

“I moved on to Jacksonville where Merrill Hodge was my head coach,” Beisel explained. “Man, that guy knows his football, and what an experience in Jacksonville. I ended up leading that league in tackles. What a phenomenal experience.”

Beisel’s time at “Your Call Football” put him directly in the crosshairs of the XFL.

“There was a number of XFL coaches who were there, and obviously Eric Galko who was the personnel guy for ‘Your Call’,” Eric said. “He’s the one who actually gave me the call and invited me out there and now he’s obviously helping out with the XFL.”

In just over one week we will find out if Eric Beisel’s hard work has paid off, when we see if he is drafted into the XFL.

“I just want a chance, you know, to show what I have,” Beisel pointed out. “I’m looking forward to hopefully being on a team here, and bringing out the most of my character, and most importantly delivering results for whoever decides to take me.”

Good attitude. We can’t wait to see the results.

YouTube video

 

Kalias Robertson wants the XFL to call his number

Kalias Robertson, a former Alabama A&M Bulldogs Tight End, has been invited to the XFL draft… and he couldn’t be more excited.

Mainly, Kalias is happy to hear that his football skills have not gone unnoticed. “I’m on their draft boards,” he said. “I’m very excited to see who’s going to get me first.”

Kalias grew up in Alabama, where football is a way of life. “I grew up in Tuscaloosa, but I moved because I was on scholarship to play ball in Huntsville, Alabama,” he explained. “I’ve been surrounded by football all my life. Ever since I was little, I attended the Alabama games and just wanted to get on the field,  even though I wasn’t able to play with Alabama.”

Many of the highlights of his college career were when he got to play in the Magic City Classic. In fact, in 2016, he managed to catch the pass that scored the two-point conversion that tied the game, and led to the team winning in overtime.

“That was a moment I could never forget, because we needed it,” Kalias recalled. “My coach was like, Kalias, I’m coming you to Kalias. We need it. So, he called my number, and he always told me, big time players, make big time plays, in big time situations. And, I knew my number was being called. So I had to make the play.”

When asked if he is ready to play in the XFL, Kalias insisted he is more than ready. “I’m definitely ready man. I’ve been waiting to play pro-football for the longest,” he responded.

Kalias went on to say that he was ready to go last spring, when he was brought into the roster of the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football.

“I was brought on with the AAF in Birmingham, right? I was getting ready to play in the next couple of days, and the league folded. I was kind of upset with that.”

Like many players, Kalias was caught in the disappointment of the AAF folding. However, he keeps maintaining his body for the game knowing full well that his pro-football career is not over. According to Kalias, the recipe is a mixture of weight-training, running, swimming and yoga.

“I do yoga,” Kalias said. “People don’t understand that the little things matter. So, I do yoga to keep my body flexed, so I can stay flexible.

When asked which team he hoped to be selected by, Kalias didn’t want to say. He just pointed out that he wanted to be on a team that has a throwing offense.

“I’d like to be on a team where they throw the ball, because I can go out in the slot and stuff like that,” Kalias explained.

When it comes to pregame rituals, Kalias relies on prayer.

“I pray man,” he said. “I just pray to God, check my body before I go out there, and just to protect me and my teammates… protect my mind, protect my whole body, and just for a great game.”

It sounds like Kalias has his priorities straight. We are also ready to send him good thoughts, and wish him luck in the XFL draft, and through the upcoming XFL training camps.

If you want to keep up on Kalias Robertson’s career, you can follow him on Twitter @84OnGo

“That’s my number man. 84,” Kalias explained. “I did a lot of work in 84 in college… and I’m gonna probably rock the 84 in the XFL.”

We will all be watching for #84.

Quincy Redmon is ready to play XFL football

quincy redmon

Right out of Fairmont State, and as an undrafted free agent, Defensive End Quincy Redmon was picked up by the Miami Dolphins.

For Quincy, it was a dream come true. He even got to play alongside Robert Quinn, William Hays, Charles Harris and Andre Branch, all players he looked up to as role models. However, as his first preseason ended, it was also the end for Quincy, as he was cut from the Dolphins.

Now, Quincy is no stranger to adversity. Even as a young football player, an on-field accident left him partially paralyzed.

“It was just a routine tackle,” Quincy explained. “I chased somebody down. But this time, I put my head down and it hit the ground first. When I woke up, I was up in a helicopter and I just couldn’t feel anything.”

After landing in the hospital and discovering he was partially paralyzed, a young Quincy fought through his injury.

“A year later I was playing baseball. The doctors were very shocked that I even had movement as fast as I did.”

Quincy claims it was his mother that showed him how to persevere past any hardship. After all, she raised both Quincy and his brother as a single parent. “We grew up homeless and from shelter to shelter,” Quincy said. “But she kept it together and definitely got us back on our feet. She did an incredible job raising me and my brother.”

Quincy even says he received his tenacious football skills from his mother. “She’s a grinder and a fighter, and definitely that’s where I get it from,” Quincy claimed. “Just seeing how hard she worked her whole life definitely made me want to work too. Like she’d always done,working three to four jobs to support us when we were kids. It just really showed me that hard work can get you anywhere.”

According to Quincy he is ready to bring that hard-working attitude to the XFL.

Last summer he received an invitation to the Tampa Bay Summer Showcase, and according to Quincy he went down there “on just a prayer.” Afterward, Quincy was buoyed by the fact the coaches seemed pretty happy with him. Now he is waiting to hear his name called in the upcoming draft, and then it would be time for training camp.

Is Quincy ready for all this? He is sure that he is more than ready.

“Definitely ready. I’m definitely ready for the cuts that come, and all that, because this guy, once he puts one foot in… I’m putting both feet in. I’m not going nowhere,” Quincy expounded on his attitude.  “I’m not even putting out what happens next, because I know what’s going to happen next. I’m going to be… I’m definitely going to be on the team.”

When asked if he is ready to play in the XFL, which many feel (because of changes to the play clock) will probably feature a faster-paced style of football, Quincy says he is ready.

“I play fast. My motor is high, and that’s what separates me from everybody else in any league is my motor,” Quincy boasted. “If you watch, my motor never stops running and that’s what just separates me from everybody.”

Hopefully, we will get the chance to see Quincy Redmon hit the field on an XFL squad this February.

You can follow Quincy Redmon on Twitter @quincyredmon94 or on TikTok @qredmon94

Linebacker Jacob Onyechi is ready to soar from the Air Force into the XFL

Linebacker Jacob Onyechi
(AP Photo)

If the XFL is looking for intelligent, young players, with a great attitude, Jacob Onyechi should be right up their alley.

A 2017 graduate of the Air Force Academy, Jacob is likely one of only a few linebackers to hold a degree in Mechanical Engineering. So, where has he been? Just serving his country by testing weapon systems for the United States Air Force… that’s all. Oh, by the way, he still has a strong desire to play professional football. Good thing he has recently been invited to the XFL draft.

Jacob excelled as a linebacker for the Air Force team. In 2015 he started in seven games, recording 25 total tackles, including 18 unassisted, with a career-best seven tackles in the Boise State game. In  2016, his senior year, he recorded two sacks, and 40 tackles (25 unassisted plus 15 assisted).

He was primed and ready for the NFL draft, but very close to his graduation, he was told he was obligated to complete two years of military service.

“That happened,” Jacob explained. “It was kind of a crazy story. When I was getting recruited to play in the Air Force, it had been a long standing rule that before you can play professional sports, going from a service Academy, you have to serve at least two years. My junior year they actually rescinded that rule and told us that we could go and play right away.”

However, the rules changed, and the timing of the change quickly impacted Jacob’s football career.

“In my senior year, actually, the day of the drafts, I found out that we actually had to go back to the two-year commitment, and that we wouldn’t be able to play right away.”

Fortunately, a mature-minded Onyechi takes this setback in stride.

“It would have been nice to be able to pursue the dream right away. But, at the same time, I think I’ve grown a lot in these past two years. So, I don’t think that there’s really a negative to it, at least in my eyes.”

This attitude alone, should make XFL coaches stand up and take note.

This past summer, Jacob was invited to attend an XFL Summer Showcase in St. Louis. Jacob came out of that showcase with a positive feeling about the league. “I attended in St. Louis,” Jacob said. “I was actually really impressed with what they seem to be all about.

Jacob doesn’t have a real preference as to which XFL team he hopes will pick him in the draft. “Honestly. I feel like it would just be a blessing to be on any team,” Jacob explained. “Just being a part of the league in general is an honor itself.”

Being from Sugar Land, Texas, Jacob did say his Mom would be thrilled if he played in Houston. We just hope the XFL makes a mother happy, and drafts Jacob Onyechi into a team close by. We have a feeling that they won’t regret it.

You can hear more about Jacob Onyechi in our 22 September podcast.