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Familiar Faces Around The XFL, Names You Heard Of From NFL

One of the most exciting aspects of the XFL’s inaugural season is that new stars will rise out of anonymity and forge names for themselves on the field. However, there is a solid core of players that fans will remember from their college days and the NFL.

The Headliners

QB Cardale Jones – D.C. Defenders

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Cardale Jones’ place in College Football History is secure after he came off the bench and won a National Championship at Ohio State. He stayed another year and put up good numbers while competing with J.T. Barrett and…Joe Burrow for the starting gig.

He ended up getting drafted by the Bills in the 4th round, and after stints backing up Pro Bowlers Tyrod Taylor, Phillip Rivers and Russell Wilson, he’s chomping at the bit, ready to see some action.

EDGE Kony Ealy – Houston Roughnecks

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

He was a 2nd round draft pick with the Carolina Panthers, and in a few years of action made a serious impact as a pass rusher.

In the Panthers’ loss to the Broncos in Super Bowl 50, Ealy put up a valiant effort, and was the first player in Super Bowl history to make multiple sacks (3), pick off an interception and force a fumble.

He was eventually traded to New England for a 2nd rounder, and spent time with the Jets, Cowboys and Raiders in the past couple years before finding his way to Houston.

RB Christine Michael – St. Louis BattleHawks

Christine Michael

He’s the most accomplished rusher in the XFL, and Christine Michael has over a thousand yards rushing to his name in the NFL. He won a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013, and was a productive component of their offense throughout the years behind Marshawn Lynch.

He always stepped up to the plate when they called his number, and at just 29 with limited mileage, he’s set to make a big impact in St. Louis.

QB Landry Jones – Dallas Renegades

Landry Jones
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

After a prolific 4 year run as Oklahoma’s starter where he led the team to 3 straight Bowl Game wins, Jones has reunited with former Sooners Coach Bob Stoops in Dallas. A 4th round draft pick by the Steelers, he started a handful of games behind Ben Roethlisberger.

In limited action he was a highly efficient passer, and went 3-2 as a starter. ESPN has already declared him to be the Face of the XFL. As a seasoned vet a big arm, experience in his offense and a great supporting cast, its not hard to see why.

WR Sammie Coates – Houston Roughnecks

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Sammie Coates had some good years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and had to scrap for every minute of playing time vs big names like Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster, Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant and fellow XFL reciever Eli Rogers.

He has all the measureables a couch could want, but on tape he can kick into another gear where he’s damn hard to stop. Look for him in the end zone a lot this year.

WR Eli Rogers – D.C. Defenders

Peter Diana/Post-Gazette

Another competitor hailing from the same WR corps as Sammie Coates, Eli Rogers brings a fantastic slot option to Pep Hamilton’s offense. He’s a crisp route runner with soft hands, and I wouldn’t be suprised if he became one of Cardale Jones’ favorite targets.

QB Josh Johnson – Los Angeles Wildcats

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

He’s the XFL’s most experienced starter in terms of seasons played, and the 33 year old is still a coveted passer. He was the first overall pick in the AAF’s draft a ways back, but ended up back in the NFL this past offseason.

He was with the Lions to start 2019, was cut after the preseason and wooed back to the team when Matt Stafford went down. The XFL blocked this transaction, and is holding onto his talents til the end of the season.

Johnson offers a high football IQ, accuracy, a strong arm and dual threat potential, even at 33. He’s scored both pass and rush TD’s in 3 out of the last 4 NFL preseasons. Wildcats got a gamer here.

DL Shawn Oakman – Los Angeles Wildcats

Twitter.

Oakman is a hulk of a man at 6’9″ 280, and understandably found internet stardom for the above picture. He was cut from the Wildcats earlier in Camp, but is back with the team.

He’s been inconsistent at times but when he’s on, he’s damn hard to stop.

Honorable Mentions

QB Matt McGloin – New York Guardians

Walked on at Penn State and Started for the Raiders from 2013-2016

QB Aaron Murray – Tampa Bay Vipers

Was prolific at Georgia, leads the SEC Pass TD list ahead of Peyton and Eli Manning, and Matthew Stafford.

RB Cameron Artis Payne- Dallas Renegades

Had a stellar sophomore season at Auburn, produced for years behind Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey in Carolina.

RB Matt Jones – St. Louis BattleHawks

The 2nd part of St. Louis’ one two punch, Matt Jones had some great years as the Redskins power back. He’s only 26.

RB Andre Williams – Houston Roughnecks

Was a solid runner with the Giants and Chargers in the NFL. Has over 1000 yards and 8 TD’s to his name.

WR Rashad Ross – D.C. Defenders

The speedy vet made his bones as a returner in the NFL, and has scored on both punts and kicks. He’ll figure to be a deep threat for Cardale Jones.

WR/RET Damon Sheehy Guiseppi – New York Guardians

An inspiring story for all, DSG made his way from living on the streets to scoring on his first play in the NFL. Fans may remember his electric 86 yard TD return last year with the Browns.

He’s currently on the Reserve/Injured list but is looking sharp in his workouts

OT Isaiah Battle – Seattle Dragons

26 teams attended his personal pro day back in 2015, and he was graded as a 3rd round pick after playing at Clemson. He entered the supplemental draft instead, to spend more time with his newborn child, and was selected in the 5th by the Rams.

DE Devin Taylor – LA Wildcats

A 30 year old vet, he has 94 tackles, 15.0 sacks and 4 FF to his name with the Lions and Giants.

LB Steven Johnson – Seattle Dragons

Broncos fans might remember him as the guy who stuffed Jamaal Charles at the line back in 2013. He spent time as a rotational player in Denver, Tennesee, Pittsburgh and Baltimore

S Matt Elam – DC Defenders

A former 1st round pick, he was an impact defender his first two years, but his career in Baltimore fizzled out.

S Will Hill – St. Louis Battlehawks

He had some great years for the Giants and Ravens, and the 29 year old DB was last seen in the AAF.

K Nick Novak – LA Wildcats

The 38 year old kicker has been around football for a long time, and he’s rock solid. 82% FG rate.

Matt Nagashima is a Sports Writer for XFL News Hub. Born in Denver and raised on the John Elway Super Bowl tapes, he has been following the game since he was a kid. He studied at Colorado State University and graduated with a Degree in History and Creative Writing. Writing about football is his forte, but he's also been published twice in literary journals and continues to build his portfolio

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Bernard

    February 7, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    so people don’t know who Marquette King is? the pro bowl punter for the Battlehawks ?

  2. Jittery Sauce

    February 7, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    how come articles aren’t loading in the app anymore?

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