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The Spring League: 2021 Blues Roster Breakdown

After finishing 1-2 last fall, the Blues seemed to be built to improve upon their previous season in The Spring League.

The Blues were a competitive team who had the capabilities to put up points when they needed to. They got off to a fast start last season with a 19-0 win over the Alphas. Their next two games didn’t go as well for them as they lost two straight games to knock them out of championship game. The Blues’ offense showed promise and the defense was solid until they came across the Generals’ high powered offense.

Season two showcases a different looking team who added more fire power to the offense. Their defense should show improvement as well from last season. This is a team that got better on paper and should be able to contend for a title this season.

Blues 2021 Spring Roster

Head Coach: Ted Cottrell

Returning for his second season as head coach is Ted Cottrell. He’s no stranger to professional or college football as Cottrell has been a defensive assistant coach since 1973. His only head coaching job in his career comes from the short lived UFL with the New York Sentinals. That team finished 0-6 in their 2009 season. Cottrell didn’t return to coaching until 2019 for the AAF’s Birmingham Iron and then hopped over to the XFL to be the defensive coordinator for the Houston Roughnecks.

Offense

The Blues had three quarterbacks on their roster until Thursday morning rolled around. Former Syracuse and Dallas Renegades quarterback Eric Dungey took to Twitter to announce that he will not be playing in the league as he was invited to the Cincinnati Bengals’ mini camp.

This leaves the door open for former Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois to be the top player at the position. After an up and down college career at Florida State and Hampton, Francois joined the Fan Controlled Football League this past winter throwing for 300 yards and scoring 13 total touchdowns in five games. The other quarterback, Connor Kaegi, was an exceptional passer at Ottawa University throwing for 4595 yards and 51 touchdowns in two seasons. He got the ability to run the ball after scoring 11 touchdowns on the ground in two seasons.

Deshawn Waller is the only returning running back on the roster after a great college career at Alcorn State rushing for 1723 yards and 16 touchdown in two seasons. Former Oklahoma running back Marcelias Sutton is a smaller back, but can make some big plays out of the backfield. Dungey’s former Syracuse running back Dontae Strickland rushing for over 1700 yards and 15 touchdowns in his four year college career.

It’s a whole new receiving core for the Blues, but one of the standouts is Fabian Guerra who has bounced around the AAF, arena football, and the CFL the past three years. Brandon Arconado is another receiver to watch out for after recording 78 catches, 1109 yards, and seven touchdowns in his senior year at Washington State in 2019. Davion Davis spent time with the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL and should give them the pro football experience the unit needs. Former Hawaii receiver Cedric Byrd is another example of a receiver who puts up big numbers catching for 1097 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2019. One more 1000 yard receiver in college is Lucky Jackson catching four touchdowns at Western Kentucky in 2019.

Making up the tight ends includes Delaware Valley’s Dan Allen, Monmouth’s Hakeem Valles, and NC State’s David Grinnage. Grinnage has experience in the NFL playing two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and contributed on the field during the regular season. Allen as a tight end was ranked tenth all time in receiving yards and touchdowns at Delaware Valley. Valles is another former NFL tight end playing for the Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions from 2016 until 2018.

The Blues return two offensive linemen to their roster with dominate offensive linemen Tyler Roemer and Dwayne Wallace. Joining them from Division One college is Michigan’s TJ Wheatley, Kansas State’s Abdul Beecham, and Idaho’s Edwin Grande. Other players joining the line is Chowan’s Donald Boone and UNC-Pembroke’s Lawrence Keys.

Defense

Leading the defensive line in the middle includes Illinois’s Jamal Milan who will clog up any running lanes in the middle. Hinwa Allieu had a chance to play in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons. Chauncey Haney recorded 2.5 sacks in his senior season at NGU as an outside linebacker. Seth Thomas is another player that can get to the quarterback recording 2.5 sacks as well at Northern Iowa. Other defensive linemen who will make an impact on the line is Orlovicius Laurynas and Alema Collins.

Joey Alfieri highlights the linebackers after playing in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers. Xavier Preston played at a high level at West Virginia after getting playing time at Sam linebacker. Adam Rodriguez and Damon Lloyd will look to make names of themselves in The Spring League finishing out the linebacking core.

Eli Walker returns to the Blues’ secondary for season two after spending time in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks. The other big name on the roster is Denzel Rice who played five seasons in the NFL that includes 12 tackles and one interception in his career. Jarey Elder got a chance to play overseas professionally with the Milano Seamen before joining The Spring League. Former Maryland cornerback RaVon Davis recorded 31 tackles and two interceptions in his senior season in 2018. Kalon Beverly, Damarcus Wilson, and Miles Shuler-Foster make up the rest of the strong secondary.

Special Teams

Jonathan Barnes returns to the Blues to be their kicker as he had a successful college career at Louisiana Tech finishing first in program history in field goal attempts (103), field goals made (81), extra point attempts (226) and extra points made (219). Stephen Adams will serve as punter as he’s the all time leader in every punting stat at Delaware Valley. Rounding out the special teams unit is Chandler Dowell who will be the long snapper for the Blues.

Final Analysis

All eyes will be on the quarterback position with Deondre Francois looking to continue his success from playing in the FCF just a few months ago. He’s got plenty of weapons on offense to help him out with Guerra leading the way. The question will come with the defense and see if Cottrell can bring his brand of hard nose defense to this unit after their final game consisted of allowing 42 points. This should be a team that will be in contention for the title at season’s end.

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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