NY/NJ Hitmen Acquire four in Supplemental Draft
News Courtesy of XFL.COM
30 December 2000 – The XFL’s New York/New Jersey HITMEN™ selected three players during the league’s first-ever supplemental draft and exercised one of its territorial selections to add a total of four players to its roster today. The newest members of HITMEN are listed below in the order they were selected.
(territorial selection) Jeff Pilon, OT, Syracuse
(selection #2 overall) Joe Aska, RB, Central Oklahoma
(selection #15 overall) Marcus Hinton, TE, Alcorn State
(selection #18 overall) Leo Araguz, K, Stephen F. Austin
The HITMEN will have 24 hours to trim their roster to 70 players in preparation for the opening of training camp on Tuesday, January 2 in Orlando, FL.
Although teams could add an unlimited number of players, the HITMEN were the first team to opt out of the selection process, passing after acquiring Pilon and the three other players.
“That’s all we felt we needed,” HITMEN head coach Rusty Tillman said. “There wasn’t anything out there in the supplemental draft that we felt was better than the players we already have.”
Vice President and General Manager Drew Pearson agreed with Tillman’s assessment. “The players we selected today will complement the fine nucleus of talent that Rusty, (HITMEN player personnel director) Joe Mack, the coaching staff and I have already assembled.”
Pilon started every game at right tackle for Syracuse during his junior and senior seasons. The 6-foot-6 300-pounder has good athleticism for a big man and is a physical run blocker with good strength. Pilon signed with the New York Jets as a rookie free agent on April 20, 2000. He was one
of 18 undrafted players the Jets added to their training camp roster. Pilon was assigned to the team’s practice squad on August 29 of this year. The native of Ontario, Canada was also selected by Winnipeg in the third round of the 1999 CFL draft.
The lightning fast Aska will bring his 4.3 speed to the HITMEN running back corps. Originally signed by the Oakland Raiders, Aska made his pro debut in the 1995 season finale against the Broncos. The Central Oklahoma University alumnus played in 15 games for the Raiders during the following season, earning a pair of starts. Aska was the team’s third-leading rusher with 326 yards on 62 carries (an average of 5.3 yards/carry). He also caught eight passes for 63 yards and returned one kickoff for 17 yards. The four-year NFL veteran has rushed for 336 yards on 74 carries along with one TD and has hauled in eight passes for 63 yards during his career.
Another former Raider, the veteran Araguz is a talented, steady punter with a strong, quick leg. He has also doubled as capable kickoff man and holder for place kicks. In 1999 he saw action in all 16 league games for the Raiders, tallying 76 punts for 3,045 yards (an average of 40.1 yards/punt). Araguz tied for fourth in NFL for fewest touchbacks (4) and tied for seventh in AFC for punts placed inside opponents’ 20-yard line (25). The Pharr, TX native began his NFL career in 1996 as a late addition to the Oakland roster after participating in Miami and San Diego training camps during 1994 and 1995, respectively.
Hinton recorded two tours of duty with the Raiders, during the 1995-96 seasons and again during 1999, when he signed as a free agent on January 15. During 1998, he was a member of the Saints’ training camp roster. Out of football in 1997, Hinton pulled down a meager paycheck working in a sawmill in his hometown of Wiggins, MS. The 6-foot-4, 273-pounder can catch the ball, as his numbers at Alcorn State suggest. A favorite target of Alcorn quarterback Steve McNair’s in 1994, Hinton holds school records for touchdowns (26) and receiving yards in one game (13 catches for 316 yards against Tennessee-Chattanooga). He finished his career with 112 catches for 2,392 yards, third-most in school history.
The HITMEN open their inaugural 10-game XFL season on February 3, 2001 at Las Vegas and will play their first home game at Giants Stadium vs. the nynj Thunderbolts on February 11, 2001. Season tickets are on sale and fans can purchase sideline season seats for only $125. Call (866) 2HITMEN or visit www.nynjhitmen.com or www.xfl.com for more information.