It’s been a wild off-season for fans of the XFL. As impending merger with the USFL looms, coupled with the over 65 players signing NFL contracts, along with 135 players signing Letters of Intent, the off-season has been extremely busy for fans of the “league of opportunity”.
Who is on the roster?
Currently the Battlehawks roster sits at 62 “rostered” players going into the 2024 season. Of those 62, Nine “rookies” are set to join the team in 2024 of the Twenty-Five players who have had their rights claimed by St. Louis this off-season. You can see the Battlehawks full roster on the XFL’s website. Currently only WR James Bostic, DB Nico Bolden, LB Johnny Buchanan, DL Jadrian Taylor, LB Marcus Cushnie, RB Kevon Latulas, TE Kemore Gamble, LB Callahan O’Rielly, and WR Kemari Averrett, have signed their LOI’s and are “cleared for takeoff” in 2024.
Who is Gone:
St. Louis has “released” Twenty-Five players since the completion of the 2023 season. Of those Twenty-Five, fifteen were released due to signing an NFL contract and have their rights still claimed by the Battlehawks should they want to return to the XFL. So far Kevin Atkins and Elijah Hamilton have opted to return for 2024.
St. Louis also released Ten players over the offseason most notably Linebacker Tre Watson. Watson is not only known for his play on the field but also his charitable work off the field raising money for the Boys and Girls Club of St. Louis by donating his game worn cleats. Tre is also a veteran of the 2020 XFL along with playing Two seasons in the CFL.
Other players released were RB Aidan Borguet (Retired), Mizzou Alum DB Allie Green, DB/LB Brendon White (Signed with the USFL’s New Jersey Generals), WR A.J. Greene, DB Evan Fields, WR Hezekiah Grimsley, LS Billy Taylor, C Jon Toth, and RB Kareem Walker. Outside of Tre Watson, RB Kareem Walker is the 2nd Battlehawks player to see the most significant playing time out of the Ten Players released who did not sign NFL contracts. Walker rushed for 92 yards and 2 TDs along with 18 Receiving Yards through the air in 2023 for Anthony Becht’s offense.
What happened to the Battlehawks who earned NFL contracts?
It’s no secret the Battlehawks rostered some of the most NFL ready players in the XFL, as the team saw 15 of their players earn NFL contracts. While it’s inevitable that every “makes it” St. Louis has had some decent success with seeing their guy’s stick around.
Cut After Camp:
DB Elijah Hamilton, LB Carson Wells, DB Lavert Hill, DB Nate Meadors, DL Kevin Atkins, LB Mike Rose, WR Darrius Shepherd, WR Hakeem Butler, and WR Gary Jennings all were released after training camp. As stated earlier only Kevin Atkins and Elijah Hamilton have signed LOI’s to return in 2024.
Stayed a little while:
Brian Hill and Marcell Ateman both had stints on NFL practice squads with the 49ers and Bills respectively. Hill a St. Louis area native was a fan favorite in the “dome” while Ateman was the 2nd overall pick in the 2022 XFL draft.
Lukas Denis, LaCale London, Jaryd Jones-Smith and A.J. McCarron all continue to be on NFL payrolls going into the 2nd half of the NFL season. Denis, Jones-Smith, and McCarron have all spent time on their teams’ practice squad while London was recently signed to the Falcons 53-Man roster only to be placed on the Injured Reserve during the first week of November. London had appeared in three games for the Falcons becoming the lone Battlehawk to appear in an NFL game this year.
London may not hold the title of being the “lone Battlehawk” for long after the injury bug hit the Bengals moving forward. After Joe Burrow suffered a season ending wrist injury it does appear that A.J. McCarron will be elevated to back up Jake Browning. McCarron has been on the Bengals PS since September 23rd.
Roster Overview as of November 18th 2023:
Quarterback: Nick Tiano, Manny Wilkins, Vincent Testaverde Jr.
Running Back: Mateo Durant, Kevon Latulas
Tight End: Kemore Gamble, Jovani Hoskins, Jake Sutherland, Kemari Averett
Wide Receiver: James Bostic, George Campbell, Steven Mitchell, Austin Proehl,
LOI’s not signed: Darin Chafin, Jaylen Hall, Aaron Nelson. Jeff Thomas
Offensive Linemen: Vadal Alexander, Eric Magwood, Christian Olmstead, Mike Panasiuk, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Shane Carpenter, Steven Gonzalez, Dallas Warmack
LOI’s not signed: Jacob Brammer, Cedrice Paillant, Jacob Gall,
Defensive Linemen: Freedom Akinmoladun, Kevin Atkins, Erick Hansen, Elorm Lumor, Gelen Robinson, Tani Tupou, Jadrian Tylor,
LOI’s not signed: Eric Assoua, Eric Black, Christian Mejia, Dom Peterson, Justin Ragin, Matthew Jester
Linebacker: Lakiem Williams, Willie Harvey, Johnny Buchanan, Callahan O’Rielly, Marcus Cushnie, Travis Feeney
Defensive Back: Jonathan Alexander, Chris Cooper, Elijah Hamilton, Ben DeLuca, Mike Hampton, Mister Harriel, Tim Harris, Brendon Sebastion,
LOI’s not signed: Prince Charles Iworah, Anthony Witherstone
To learn more about how Coach Becht plans to build his roster in the off-season check out the video below:
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