Small schools well represented among known San Diego XFL Showcase participants

Participants at the XFL San Diego Showcase, October 21, 2023.
Participants at the XFL San Diego Showcase, October 21, 2023. (Twitter)

The XFL, in conjunction with American National Combines, held its final Showcase of the year on Saturday at Maranatha Christian School in San Diego, California. Several XFL league and team staff were at the event, including VP of Football Operations David Dykeman, San Antonio Brahmas Director of Player Personnel Will Lewis, St. Louis Battlehawks DPP Dave Boller, and Houston Roughnecks offensive coordinator AJ Smith.

The following day, Nick Novak held his second annual XFL Specialists Showcase, also in San Diego. XFL News Hub’s Mike Mitchell has the full list of participants from that Showcase. I’ll break down some of the more significant attendees in the coming days.

For now, here are those who have confirmed on social media their presence at the Saturday San Diego Showcase, and a little bit about each of them:

WR Isaiah Huston (Arizona Christian): An arena league veteran, Huston has returned kicks and caught passes for the Arizona Rattlers of the IFL for the last three seasons. He was the team’s leading receiver this past summer. At Phoenix College, Huston was a preseason NAIA All-American selection. A lacerated kidney suffered during the third game of his senior season cut short his two-year career at Arizona Christian.

G Ngalu Fusimalohi (Kansas): Fusimalohi graduated from Kansas in 2015 and since then has been an assistant coach at both the high school and college levels. At Kansas, he was a two-year starter at left guard and was the team’s Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2013. He has connections to the XFL, having participated in the Dallas Showcase in 2019 after also playing in Your Call Football in 2018 and 2019. In 2021, Fusimalohi resumed a rugby career that he began while growing up on the island of Tonga.

OT Ty Dobmann (Snow College): Snow College, located in Richfield, Utah, produced Dobmann, who was a part of the 2022 XFL draft pool. He even had a private pre-draft workout with the DC Defenders. Since turning pro, Dobmann has played at the lower levels of indoor football with groups like the AIFA (American Indoor Football Alliance) and in 2023 with the Sale Lake Senate of the Great Eight Football League. Dobmann can play both offensive and defensive line, a necessity in the indoor game.

OT Andre Harris, Jr. (Duke): Harris transferred to Duke from Arkansas State for his final season in 2022. He started four years with the Red Wolves, three coming at left guard and one at left tackle. He was the 65th ranked offensive tackle in Dane Brugler’s draft guide on The Athletic website. In his final year, Harris was part of a line that allowed an ACC-low number of sacks and tackles for loss. Harris’s Relative Athletic Score, based on his numbers from pro day, were average for the position.  

DL Julevarrus Milstead (SW Assembly of God): Previously of Waldorf College, Milstead wrestled there in addition to playing defensive line. He also played at the JUCO level with Highland Community College. Southwest Assembly of God may seem like an obscure school, but they produced QB CJ Collins, who signed with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free-agent in 2019. An XFL connection: Collins participated in the Dallas XFL Showcase in 2019 and was also part of the draft pool in 2022.

DT Michael Fifita (Utah Tech): Fifita played offensive line for four years at San Mateo College and Missouri Southern State before transitioning to defensive line in his final year, at Utah Tech. A guard/center on offense, Fifita played defensive tackle in 2021 and had 11 tackles and a tackle for loss in 11 games. At 6’2″ and 310 pounds, he provides adequate size for playing the line on either side of the ball.

DT Ravontae Holt (Akron): Struggles with injuries prevented Holt from reaching his full potential in college. He missed the entire 2019 season at Wyoming due to a torn ACL, an injury he also suffered in 2017. Holt’s 2020 and 2021 seasons ended prematurely due to injury as well, as he played in just eight games over those two seasons. Transferring to Akron for his final season in 2022, Holt started five of eight games played. He bulked up over that time, too, from weighing 278 pounds while at Wyoming to 300 pounds at Akron.

CB Dajon Owens (Stony Brook): Owens attended the XFL Arizona Showcase in 2022 after not being drafted by an NFL team that spring. Owens was the 148th ranked cornerback in Brugler’s draft guideA Colorado State transfer, Owens made 35 tackles and had eight passes defensed in his final season at Stony Brook. In January of this year, Owens signed with the Cologne Centurions of the European League of Football.

LS Erik Lawson (East Carolina): Selected in the Specialist Phase of the 2022 XFL Draft by the DC Defenders, Lawson was cut in training camp on February 5. He was replaced on the roster by Trae Barry. Curiously, it appears Lawson took part in the San Diego Showcase on Saturday as opposed to the Specialists Showcase that was held the next day. He played in the Spring League in 2021 and apparently owns the long snap Guinness World Record.

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