After 11 weeks of football from the XFL, we now have the winners of each category including the most valuable player award.
XFL News Hub’s staff members voted on multiple categories selecting the best players, coaches, and front-office personnel in the XFL in 2023. Seven categories in total with nominees being announced last week prior to the division championship games. And the awards go to….
XFL News Hub 2023 Award Winners
Josh Davis Underdog Award: Quinten Dormady, QB, Orlando Guardians
What an XFL journey Orlando Guardians quarterback Quinten Dormady had to go through this season. Earlier in the season, he was accused of leaking plays from the Guardian’s playbook to members of the San Antonio Brahmas. This resulted in him being released, then being placed on the Office of the President’s Reserve List, and finally being cleared of any wrongdoing.
Dormady made the most of his second chance leading the Guardians to their only win of the season against the DC Defenders. He finished the season throwing for 1,507 yards with ten touchdowns and five interceptions. Among quarterbacks who played five or more games, Dormady was second in the league in completion percentage with 68.3. He also added 97 yards and four touchdowns on the ground for the Guardians.
It was no doubt the feel-good story of the season after the ordeal he went through at the beginning of the season. Many thought it would be the end of his football career. Now it’s the ultimate redemption story of someone that might get an NFL camp invite or will be seen as a starting quarterback in the XFL next season should he return.
Director of Player Personnel of the Year: Von Hutchins, DC Defenders
If fans want to watch a Masterclass on how to construct a winning roster from scratch, make sure that DC Defenders Director of Player Personnel Von Hutchins is leading the course. Hutchins was able to put a roster together filled with players that should be getting their shots at the NFL. Of all the rosters in the XFL, many have agreed this is the most complete roster from top to bottom in the league.
Finding talented receivers like Chris Blair and Lucky Jackson added a spark to the offense as both were top five in the league in receiving yards. Running back Abram Smith was the pick of the XFL Draft as he crushed the XFL rushing title by 348 yards. The secondary was among one of the best in the league with Santos Ramirez, DeJuan Neal, Michael Joseph, and DJ Swearinger making life impossible for offenses.
There are so many players that can be brought up as stars on the DC Defenders. It’s because of the work that Hutchins and his staff were able to do that made the DC Defenders make the championship game. A tip to the cap to Hutchins and his staff as they focus on winning a title and bringing in more talent for the 2024 season.
Coach of the Year: Reggie Barlow, DC Defenders
Not a lot of people had high expectations for the DC Defenders as they had the sixth-best odds of winning the championship. DC Defenders head coach Reggie Barlow was able to make this team a 9-1 team looking at a potential XFL title winner. His calm demeanor and player-friendly personality spread throughout the team to make them successful.
Accomplishments to point out is the job he did with the two-quarterback system with Jordan Ta’amu and D’Eriq King being used perfectly to make the offense flow. The offense scored over 30 points in six of their 11 games this season. Not to mention the perfect coaching staff led by offensive coordinator Fred Kaiss and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Those two coaches led the number one scoring offense and number two in the league in sacks and forced fumbles.
Coach Barlow deserves a ton of credit for making this team gel together so quickly and plays at a high level from game one. Not many teams were able to consistently be as dominant as the DC Defenders were. Because of the job he did in DC, many expect Coach Barlow to get a shot somewhere else. Fans are hoping he will stick around the XFL and continue to build the strong culture that he has created in DC.
Special Teams Player of the Year: John Parker Romo, K, San Antonio Brahmas
In a season where the San Antonio Brahmas struggled to score many points on offense, they had to lean a lot on their kicker John Parker Romo to help them. Luckily for the Brahmas, Romo was near accurate on every kick he made and would come through for them when they needed him. He was the best kicker in the XFL and the most underrated weapon for San Antonio.
Romo finished the season converting 17 of his 19 field goals which are good for 89 percent of his field goals was good. His longest field goal of the season was a 57-yard kick against the Seattle Sea Dragons as that was the Luman Field record for the longest field goal and at the time was an XFL record. Unfortunately, his XFL record would eventually get passed by St. Louis Battlehawks kicker Donny Hageman who converted from 59 yards.
Not many kickers in the league were seen as “automatic” when the ball left their foot, but Romo was that guy for San Antonio. The reality is the Brahmas would not have been in the position they were in almost making the playoffs without Romo’s kicks. His performance got him a chance to make the Detroit Lions roster with a mini-camp invite. It was well-deserved and well-earned by the league’s best kicker.
Defensive Player of the Year: Trent Harris, LB, Houston Roughnecks
Dominate pass rushers are hard to find in football and when a team does, those are usually the most impactful players on the field. There wasn’t a better and more consistent pass rusher in the XFL than Houston Roughnecks outside linebacker Trent Harris. No one was more relentless in getting to the quarterback than Harris was this season.
Harris led the XFL in sacks with 9.5 while also adding 30 tackles and 12 tackles for loss in nine games played. His biggest performance of the season was game one against the Orlando Guardians where he had four sacks in the 33-12 season-opening win. Harris would record a sack in six of the nine games played in the season, still making an impact in every game.
Houston’s defense was one of the best in the XFL in sacks and Harris played a major role in that. Five of their ten games saw opposing offenses score less than 20 points. Not a lot of teams were able to consistently move the ball on the Roughnecks and the reason for that was Harris coming off the edge to sack the quarterback. His performance is also getting him a shot in the NFL as he got an invite with the Denver Broncos to their rookie camp with multiple teams also being interested.
Offensive Player of the Year: Jahcour Pearson, WR, Seattle Sea Dragons
One of the most electric players in the XFL showed up and played well with the Seattle Sea Dragons. Jahcour Pearson was tough to cover all season as week after week he was making big plays. For someone who didn’t have prior NFL experience, Pearson was a difference maker for Seattle and helped them be one of the top passing offenses in the XFL.
Pearson led the league in receptions (60) and receiving yards (670), adding four touchdowns on the season. He was third in the league in 20 or more-yard receptions with eight and had two catches for 40 or more yards. To top off his impressive statical season, Pearson led the league in first down completions with 32.
There’s no doubt Pearson will get calls and interest from the NFL in trying out for their teams. He’s too much of a playmaker to not get a shot somewhere and his speed is an asset to get his foot in the door. The sure-handed receiver made his mark as the top receiver in the league and has well-earned a shot to play in the NFL.
Most Valuable Player: AJ McCarron, QB, St. Louis Battlehawks
The moment everyone has been waiting for. Our selection of 2023 XFL Most Valuable Player goes to St. Louis Battlehawks quarterback AJ McCarron.
His story has been told multiple times, but it is still worth mentioning. After having a successful career being a backup in the NFL, McCarron wanted his kids to see him play on the field. That was his purpose in joining the XFL and he ended up taking the league and the football world by storm.
McCarron finished second in the XFL in passing yards (2,150) but finished first in passing touchdowns (24) and completion percentage (68.8). The standout game of the season was the final game of the year where St. Louis needed to score often for a playoff spot, McCarron put up 420 yards and six touchdowns in their 53-28 win over the Orlando Guardians.
What makes McCarron the MVP of the league is how he was able to be the emotional leader of the team throughout the year and keep them in games. At the beginning of the season, the Battlehawks found themselves behind in games and he was able to get them back in the game. When things looked at their worst, McCarron found a way to carry his team to a win. The Battlehawks may not have made the playoffs, but they were in the hunt all season because of McCarron’s performance. His future is unknown right now, but McCarron should either find a spot in the NFL again or be back in the XFL as a starter next season.
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