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IFL Acquisitions: NAZ Wranglers offensive lineman Zech Thomas drafted by the Seattle Sea Dragons of the XFL

The personnel partnership between the IFL and the XFL is successfully giving players in the IFL an opportunity to find success in the outdoor football world of the XFL. During the 2023 Supplemental Draft, the Seattle Sea Dragons selected NAZ Wrangler’s offensive lineman Zech Thomas.

While the Wranglers lose a productive lineman that helped them play at a championship level, the selection of Thomas by the Sea Dragons demonstrates that IFL players will have opportunities to seek out other playing opportunities. A portion of the players in the IFL are athletes that are looking for an opportunity to stand out and move to outdoor professional football leagues.

With that in mind, the selection of Thomas by an XFL team sets an important precedent for other players in the IFL that are looking to get noticed. Now let’s take a look at the personnel moves made by IFL teams to close out 2022 in preparation for the 2023 season.

Northern Arizona Wranglers

The Wranglers continue to add talent to their roster to make another championship run for a second consecutive season. Offensively, the Wranglers re-signed wide receiver Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman, and offensive lineman Blake Mitchell. With the loss of Zech Thomas to the XFL, Mitchell may be a key addition to the Wrangler’s offensive line.

The 6’1″ 285 pound Mitchell played 14 games at Austin Peay University and was named 1st team All-OVC in 2019. On defense, Northern Arizona has added defensive backs Terik Miller and Shawn Turber-Ortiz. The 5’10” 190-pound Turber-Ortiz produced 303 tackles in 4 seasons at Division II Kutztown, he also had 15 interceptions, 10.5 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 quarterback sack.

Frisco Fighters

The Frisco Fighters continue to actively work to add talent to their roster to not only have a great 2023 season but also end the season with an IFL National Championship. On defense, Frisco has added defensive back Allante Leapheart and defensive lineman Kevin Thompson.

Thompson is a 6’3″ 250 pound defensive lineman that has professional indoor football experience with the Sioux Falls Storm in 2019 and 2021, and the Jacksonville Sharks of the NAL in 2020. The Fighters have also added some beef to their offensive line by signing 6’3″ 330 pound Moses Mallory. Mallory played 23 games at the University of Montana from 2019 to 2021.

Duke City Gladiators

During the 2022 season, the Duke City Gladiators had the top passing offense in the IFL, but during the playoffs, they came up short due to not consistently getting defensive stops. To end 2022 the Gladiators made several roster additions to bolster their defense which may give them a chance to take the next step to an IFL championship.

Defensively, the Gladiators added defensive backs Roderick Chapman and former NAZ Wrangler Justin Wyatt, and they also signed defensive end Sadat Sulleyman.

Sulleyman brings NFL experience to the Gladiators via his time with the Denver Broncos. Duke City has also added former LSU quarterback Andre Sale to their explosive offensive unit.

Bay Area Panthers

The Bay Area Panthers continue to work towards their goal of being the next IFL team to go from a 1-win season to an IFL National Championship. Offensively, the Panthers signed wide receiver Jared Wyatt and quarterback D’Angelo Fulford to improve their offensive production. Fulford is a dual-threat quarterback from Division III Mount Union and he lead the Purple Raiders to a national championship in 2017.

The Panthers have also added former East Carolina linebacker Bruce Bivens, during the 2021 season Bivens lead the ECU Pirates in tackles. Bivens also had 4.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks for the Pirates.

Tulsa Oilers

The Tulsa Oilers continue to build their inaugural IFL roster for the 2023 season, it will be interesting to see how long it will take the Oilers to become competitive with the talent they are collecting. On offense, the Oilers have added former Oklahoma Sooner wide receiver, Myles Tease. The 5’10” 185 pound Tease produced 12.9 yards/catch during his career at Oklahoma. Defensively, the Oilers added linebacker Tre Harris, Harris is an IFL veteran that has played for the Quad City Steamwheelers, Bismarck Bucks, and the Frisco Fighters. This experience could be an important factor in developing a cohesive locker room for this first-year IFL team.

Quad City Steamwheelers

The Steamwheelers have added more talent this week to push themselves over the top to an IFL National Championship victory in 2023. On offense, the Steamwheelers have added 6’3″ 200-pound wide receiver, John Brunner. Brunner played his college football at Western Illinois and played for the Bismarck Bucks during the 2022 IFL season. Quad City also signed defensive lineman Lionell Wiggins who played for the IFL champion Northern Arizona Wranglers in 2022. Wiggins has a reputation for being a high-energy defensive playmaker.

Massachusetts Pirates

The Pirates continue to seek out more talent so that they can return to a championship level in the IFL. On defense, the Pirates added defensive backs Chris Ingram from North Carolina State and Chris Turner from Liberty University. Ingram played 39 games for the Wolfpack and accumulated 91 tackles and 19 pass breakups. Turner was a successful player for the Liberty Flames, and in 2019 participated in a mini-camp with Washington Commanders of the NFL.

Offensively, the Pirates re-signed wide receiver Darren Carrington for his 3rd season with the Pirates. The 6’3″ 205 pound Carrington played in 14 games for the Pirates and had 49 catches for 649 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Iowa Barnstormers

The Iowa Barnstormers ended 2022 with some additions to their defensive and offensive units. On defense, the Barnstormers added defensive lineman Carl Igweh who played in 36 games for Division III Frostburn State. The 6’4″ 265-pound Igweh had 95 tackles, 52.5 tackles for loss, 37 quarterback sacks, and 8 forced fumbles. Iowa has also re-signed defensive back D’Vaughn Whitt, Whitt finished 2022 playing in 1 game on the Barnstormer defense.

On offense, the Barnstormers added 6’5″ 325-pound offensive lineman Eric Janeau Jr. after Janeau Jr. played for the Green Bay Blizzard the last two seasons in the IFL. The Barnstormers have also re-signed kicker Gabriel Rui, in the 2nd half of the 2022 season Rui completed 34 of 38 PATs, and 12 of 14 field goals, and was named an IFL Special Teams Player of the Week in Week 16.

Green Bay Blizzard

The Green Bay Blizzard made several roster additions in the last week of 2022 on offense and defense. On offense, the Blizzard signed offensive lineman Trent Clark from Tiffin University and wide receiver Hassan Littles from Ball State University.

Littles played in 46 games for Ball State, during his career with the Cardinals, he established himself as a consistent contributor on offense and special teams. Defensively, Green Bay signed defensive back Trey Giles who finished his college playing career at Miles College, and they also added defensive back Quantaye Battle. He played in 29 games for Virginia Union University and produced 127 tackles, 23 pass breakups, 18.5 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, and 1 sack and forced fumble.

Follow me on Twitter: @AaronSauter7

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