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Sea Dragons QB Ben DiNucci’s NFL Comeback, WR Hakeem Butler Rejoins Battlehawks

3 Key Points:

  • Ben DiNucci’s NFL Return: Former Seattle Sea Dragons QB now activated by Denver Broncos.
  • XFL’s Fresh Talents: Garrett McGhin, Tabyus Taylor, and Hakeem Butler sign letters of intent.
  • Players’ Backgrounds: Each player brings unique skills and significant college achievements.

Ben DiNucci’s Career Resurgence

Former Seattle Sea Dragons quarterback Ben DiNucci, aged 27, has marked a significant career milestone with his activation by the Denver Broncos. Originally signing with the Broncos on May 15, 2023, DiNucci faced a brief setback being waived on August 29, 2023, but resilience paid off as he rejoined the practice squad.

In the XFL, DiNucci stood out as a formidable force. He started all 10 regular season games for the Sea Dragons last season, showcasing his prowess with a 7-3 record. His statistics were impressive: leading the XFL in passing yards (2,671), attempts (374), completions (272), quarterback rushing yards (305), and ranking second in passing touchdowns (23). His postseason performance was notable, despite a loss to the D.C. Defenders.

Before his XFL success, DiNucci’s journey began in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys, who selected him in the 2020 NFL Draft. His collegiate career spanned the University of Pittsburgh and James Madison University, where he achieved All-CAA, CAA Offensive Player of the Year, and AFCA first-team All-American honors.

XFL’s New Signings

Garrett McGhin – East Carolina – Arlington Renegades

Garrett McGhin, a versatile offensive lineman from East Carolina University, has shown impressive growth from a special teams contributor to a full-time starter. His agility and strength are notable, especially for his 6-foot-6, 302-pound frame. McGhin’s college career includes starting 11 of 12 games in 2017, playing multiple positions, and contributing to a high-ranking passing offense. This is his second stint with the Renegades.

Tabyus Taylor – Notre Dame College – DC Defenders

Running back Tabyus Taylor, a transfer from D-2 Virginia Union University to Notre Dame College, has an impressive record. In the shortened 2020 season, he rushed for 1,013 yards in just 104 attempts, scoring 12 touchdowns. His performance earned him Mountain East Conference Offensive Player of the Year and All-MEC First Team honors. Taylor’s cumulative college career includes 2,798 rushing yards, 668 receiving yards, and 36 total touchdowns, highlighting his versatility and skill​​. It is his first year with DC.

Hakeem Butler – Iowa State – St Louis Battlehawks

Hakeem Butler, a wide receiver from Iowa State, made a significant mark with his school-record 1,318 receiving yards and nine touchdowns as a junior. His overall college career boasts 110 catches for 2,149 yards and 18 touchdowns, demonstrating his ability as a big-play threat and reliable receiver.

Hakeem Butler’s performance with the St. Louis Battlehawks in the 2023 XFL season showcased his significant impact as a wide receiver. His stats for the season:

  • Total Receptions and Yards: Butler completed the season with 51 receptions for 599 receiving yards. This demonstrates his reliability as a receiver and his ability to consistently contribute to the BattleHawks’ offense​​​​.
  • Touchdowns: He led the league with eight touchdown receptions, underlining his effectiveness in the red zone and his knack for making crucial plays​​​​.
  • Performance in Key Games: In Week 10, Butler notably caught nine passes (on 12 targets) for 164 yards and scored two touchdowns in the win over the Guardians, highlighting his ability to perform under pressure​​.
  • Recognition: His outstanding performance earned him a place in the 2023 All-XFL Team, emphasizing his status as one of the top players in the league for that season​​.

Butler’s achievements in the XFL, particularly his leading role in touchdowns and inclusion in the All-XFL Team, reflect his skill and value as a wide receiver. His contributions were crucial in driving the St. Louis Battlehawks to a record of 7 wins and 3 losses, placing them third in the XFL’s North Division​​.

With Ben DiNucci’s return to the NFL and the XFL’s strategic signings of McGhin, Taylor, and Butler, the landscape of both leagues is set for an exciting season. These players not only bring impressive stats but also a promise of dynamic and impactful gameplay in their respective teams.

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Mark Perry, a devoted sports journalist and founder of XFL News Hub, has been a key figure in XFL coverage since its 2018 revival. Launching XFL News Hub soon after the league's return announcement, Mark has established the platform as a primary source for comprehensive XFL updates. Renowned for his in-depth knowledge and commitment to sports journalism, Mark actively engages the XFL community, welcoming interactions at

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