The Massachusetts Pirates and Frisco Fighters finished the 2022 season as the top two teams in the East division of the IFL. Unfortunately, both teams were upset by the Quad City Steamwheelers in the playoffs. This week the Pirates and Fighters have been aggressively working to acquire personnel to help re-load their rosters for the 2022 season.
The Pirates announced this week that Anthony Payton would be the offensive coordinator for Massachusetts in 2023. Payton is returning to the Pirates after serving as the head coach for Massachusetts during the 2019 season. Payton has helped construct the best offensive units in indoor football as an offensive coordinator. That includes 2018, in which the Pirate’s offense scored 123 touchdowns.
Several offensive weapons have been re-signed by the Pirates this week, including quarterback Alejandro Bennifield and wide receiver Jovon Durante. On defense, Massachusetts has re-signed defensive back Harlan Miller and has added linebacker Brendan White who has XFL experience with the Saint Louis Battlehawks.
The Frisco Fighters added a host of defensive backs, including Kyle Meyers, Trayshon Foster, Kordell Jackson, Dyvonne Inyang, Kenneth McGruder, and Allante Leapheart. In addition, Frisco has added defensive linemen Rashad Brandon and Kenneth Mann. On offense, the Fighters have added wide receiver Elisha Peat to an explosive offensive unit.
We will examine the other IFL franchise’s efforts to build a championship-quality 2023 roster.
Bay Area Panthers
The Panthers have re-acquired wide receiver Aaron Dilworth after the Orlando Guardians of the XFL released him. Additionally, Bay Area has added quarterback D’Angelo Fulford to assist with the Panther’s offense. Defensively, the Panthers have added defensive back Marquise Bridges, which was a part of the NAZ Wranglers IFL National Championship season in 2022.
Northern Arizona Wranglers
The Wranglers had the 2nd ranked defense in the IFL in 2022. This week they have added linebacker Justice Henson and defensive back Da’Quan Lewis. Northern Arizona’s defense was a crucial factor in their run to the IFL National Championship in 2022, and re-loading that defense is a priority for the Wranglers.
Green Bay Blizzard
The Blizzard have signed 5’11” 300-pound Yuka Onya to strengthen their defensive line. Onya played college football at Shippensburg; while playing in 29 games, he produced 40 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss. In addition, blizzard Offensive lineman Jovaun Woolford will join the XFL’s Saint Louis Battlehawks, and the IFL to XFL pipeline is going strong.
Sioux Falls Storm
The Storm has signed defensive lineman Roderick Darden. In 2022, the Storm had the 10th-ranked defense in the IFL. It will be interesting to see if Darden can make an impact concerning improving the Sioux Falls defensive unit.
Quad City Steamwheelers
The Steamwheelers have added several defensive players, including defensive backs Joseph Freeland, Tarik Pusey, and 6’5″ 265-pound defensive lineman Samuele Hammond. In addition; Quad City has signed 6’6″, 210-pound wide receiver John Williams on offense. Williams produced 16.9 yards/catch and eight touchdowns while playing at Wagner University.
The Barnstormers have re-signed running back Antonio Wimbush; Wimbush produced 650 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns in 2022. Iowa has also added wide receiver Bralon Robinson to their offense; Robinson has participated in mini-camps with the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL. On the offensive line, the Barnstormers have signed 6’7″ 360-pound TJ Jackson; Jackson played collegiately at Virginia Tech and with the Ohio Bobcats. Defensively, the Barnstormers have re-signed defensive back Justic’e King; King produced 68.5 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and four interceptions for the Barnstormers during the 2022 season.
Vegas Knight Hawks
The Knight Hawks have added fire-power to their offense with wide receiver Quentin Randolph who played for the NAZ Wranglers in 2022, and quarterback Joe Mancuso. Mancuso produced over 7,000 yards of offense while playing for the Richmond Spiders. On defense, the Knight Hawks signed defensive back John Broussard; coming out of high school, Broussard was projected as the top defensive back recruit in the country before attending Auburn University in 2016.
The Tulsa Oilers have added defensive backs Kevin Moore, Kelvin Jenkins and defensive lineman Connor Flagel. The 6’5″ 280-pound Flagel has spent time with the Tennessee Titans, Las Vegas Raiders, Ottawa Redblacks, and Toronto Argonauts before becoming a part of the Tulsa Oilers franchise. On offense, the Oilers have signed offensive lineman Patrick Barrett. Barrett and Jenkins both have successful indoor football experience as members of the Omaha Beef in the CIF. Tulsa offensive linemen will leave the Oilers to join the Las Vegas Vipers in the XFL.
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