First, we hear from Kristjan Sokoli, a defensive lineman who is currently in the DC Defenders Minicamp. He will give us his take on how the minicamp is progressing. Then we talk to Jackson Conner, an XFLBoard.com contributor from Seattle, and talk about the XFL uniforms, the balls and the progress of the Seattle Dragons. Finally, we take you to Texas, where we hear from Jai Nokes, one of our XFLBoard.com contributors for the Dallas Renegades. Jai gives us his take on the uniforms, the balls, and an update on the Dallas Renegades.
We hear from LA Wildcats XFL supplementary draft pick Terrell Alex. Terrell comes to the XFL after a diverse football career which has taken him from Southern University in Baton Rouge, to Canada, and to the Arena League, and most recently to a southern California league called the LDFL. We hear how Terrell feels an opportunity with the XFL is just what he needs at this point in his career. Then we talk to Mark Zelakowski, one of our XFLBoard.com team reporters for the Tampa Bay Vipers. We reminisce about Mark’s time as a reporter for the Orlando Rage, and hear about what happened when they served too much beer to the fans in the Citrus Bowl.
First, we hear from XFL draft pick Connor Davis. Connor is a young talented tight end who attended Stony Brook University. After college he was invited to a New York Giants rookie camp, and later played for the Birmingham Iron of the AAF. Now he is working hard to prepare for an upcoming training camp with the St. Louis BattleHawks. Then we talk to Dallas Renegades XFLBoard.com team reporter Anthony Miller. We discuss the XFL supplemental draft, the quarterback situation and how the league is preparing itself for the upcoming season.
We interview XFL draft pick Johnny Stanton IV. Throughout high school, college and a brief NFL career, Stanton overcame many challenges, and played many different positions. We hear about his path to a pro football career that has now led him to be drafted by the Los Angeles Wildcats of the XFL. Then we talk to XFLBoard.com team reporters Greg Parks and Mike Mitchell. We discuss the upcoming XFL Supplemental draft, the league’s marketing efforts, and make presumptions about the upcoming reveals of the team uniforms and the XFL ball.
Dimitrios Tsesmetzis, a tall tight end that impressed coaches at the New York XFL Summer Showcase, was drafted by the DC Defenders in the open phase of the XFL draft. We talk to Dimitrios and learn why he feels the XFL is part of his journey to a lengthy and productive pro-football career. Then we talk to “XFLChick,” one of a few female XFL fans on Twitter. We hear why she follows the XFL, about her views as to how the XFL could draw more female fans, how it’s more than men that enjoy fantasy football, and we talk about the social media game of #XFL teams.
DC Defenders draft pick Kristjan Sokoli, a former defensive lineman for the University of Buffalo Bulls, and sixth round draft pick for the Seattle Seahawks, had a three-year NFL season that was cut short by an untimely injury. We talk to Kristjan about his time in college, his NFL career, and the fact that he is coming to the XFL because he has something to prove. Then we talk with XFLBoard.com Dallas Renegades team reporter Jai Nokes. He will tell us why he has decided to follow the XFL, the chances of the Dallas Renegades under Coach Bob Stoops, a budding rivalry with the Houston Roughnecks, and why the city of Dallas will embrace the Renegades.
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.
In this podcast we introduce two guests, Seattle Dragons draft pick Anthony Johnson and XFLBoard.com Dallas Renegades team reporter Anthony Miller. Anthony Johnson, a stellar Defensive Lineman for the Florida International University Panthers, completed his senior year in 2018. Last summer he attended an XFL summer showcase, which led to him being invited to the XFL draft, and eventually being picked by the Seattle Dragons. We talk to Anthony about his football career, his future with the XFL, and his desire to help at risk kids in the community. Then we talk to Anthony Miller. He provides insight into the XFL schedule, the draft, and what to expect in the upcoming XFL season.
The XFL draft has now taken place. The draft was followed closely by both players and fans, and was an exciting time for the league, where a total of 568 players were assigned to XFL rosters. The two guest in this podcast are Andre Williams, a former Boston College, New York Giants and San Diego Chargers running back, who was recently drafted by the Houston Roughnecks in the “skill players” round of the XFL draft. We talk to Andre about his football career, his future with the Roughnecks, and his unique philosophy of life. We also talk to Mike Mitchell,the XFLBoard.com New York Guardians team reporter. Mike helps us analyze the draft, the draft format, the quarterback allocations, and something he refers to as the “case of the disappearing tiers.”
Most people know Carlos Thompson from season three of the Netflix series “Last Chance U.” We talk to Carlos about his time with the Independence Community College Pirates, and discuss his upcoming opportunity to be drafted into the XFL. Greg Parks is our team reporter for the Tampa Bay Vipers, and a football fan who has been independently tracking prospective XFL players since the summer showcases. We will discuss the upcoming draft, and how the XFL is doing with one of their biggest undertakings so far.