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The Spring League: Aviators 2021 Spring Roster Breakdown

Fans of The Spring League got some insight into some of the teams with the release of the Alphas and Aviators’ rosters Sunday night.

The news comes at the eve of The Spring League kicking off their season May 6th with the Alphas and Aviators facing off at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kick off for the game starts at 7:00 pm EST.

The Aviators are coming off a season where they made the championship game, but lost to the General 37-14. They had lost some key players prior to the title game including quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, running back De’Veon Smith, tight end Nick Trusdell, and defensive back DeShaun Amos. The Aviators finished the regular season 2-1 and second in the standings.

One key piece that is returning to the Aviators is head coach Terry Shea. He is returning to lead the Aviators once again in the spring 2021 season. Shea has been associated with the league since 2017 and is one of the most tenured coaches in The Spring League.

In total, 18 players are returning to the roster from either the beginning of last fall’s season or added before the title game. Some key players returning includes quarterback Keller Chryst, running back Romar Morris, and linebacker Ty Schwab.

Breaking Down The Aviators Roster

Offense

Keller Chryst returns to the team after being the backup to McLeod Bethel-Thompson at the beginning of last season. Chryst will be projected to be the starter on the team after a successful college career at Stanford and Tennessee.

The other quarterback Seth Suida is no stranger to The Spring League as he’ll get his chances to play as well. Suida has good pocket presence and throws a nice touch on the ball.

Romar Morris also is back to lead the backfield for the Aviators. After struggling with injury issues in the NFL and CFL, Morris will be looking to show off his blazing speed once again.

Newcomer Leroy Wilson joins Morris in the backfield for this season. Wilson ran for 330 yards and two touchdowns in 2017 with West Florida where he also served as an assistant coach after his college years.

Charlie Jones and Delvon Hardaway are the returning receivers on the Aviators. Hardaway was on the roster during the regular season while Jones, a former basketball players, joined the team for the title game. New to the receiving core is Charles Johnson II and Erick Brundidge. Brundidge played in The Spring League back in 2019 where he caught a touchdown during his time there.

On the offensive line, tackle Taylor Tappin and center Siosifa Tufunga return to the team after playing in the title game for the Aviators. Erick Browne impressed when he participated at HUB and should see playing time. Jeremy Hickey has played in arena football since 2019 adding to his professional football resume.

Malcolm Pridgeon has been in the NFL the last two seasons as he opted out of the 2020 season due to Covid-19 concerns while with the Cleveland Browns. Pailake Aiona will provide some depth for the offensive line as well coming from Sacramento State.

Defense

The Aviator’s defensive line has three players returning to the unit. Nick Raby, Malik Harris, and David Gilbert return to provide speed off the ends. Javier Edwards played at a high level at Colorado at nose tackle after recording 33 tackles in his senior season in 2018.

Former DC Defenders tackle Kalani Vakameilalo joins the defensive line after spending a short time with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the past. Lavon Hooks is no stranger to the NFL spending four years with the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ty Schwab headlines the linebacking core returning from last fall after a successful run with the Houston Roughnecks. Another returning linebacker is Aaron Ortiz who was on the roster for the title game.

San Diego State product Kyahva Tezino joins the Aviators after spending time with the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers. Another former NFL player in Mark McLaurin brings his versatility to the unit after spending time with the New York Giants.

More than half of the secondary is back from the team that made the championship team. Louis Otis, Jalen Embry, Joseph Putu, and Haki Woods Jr. all return to bring some experience to the unit.

Big play tackler Derek Parnell was a key piece to Western Oregon’s defense after making Second Team All-GNAC in 2018. Robert Taylor is a name some might recognize during his time with the AAF’s Orlando Apollos. Roman Tatum was a part of the LA Wildcats last year in the XFL recording seven tackles.

Special Teams

The Aviators bring in another international kicker to take over. This time it’s former rugby player Tadhg Leader as he comes from Ireland. Clark Riedel returns from the fall as punter for the Aviators. Riedel reunites with his former Wisconsin-Stout teammate in long snapper Clay Dziekan.

Anthony Miller is a credential reporter and writer for XFL NewsHub. Anthony writes about the NFL, specifically the Philadelphia Eagles. Follow Anthony on Twitter @ByAnthonyMiller.

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