On Friday June 16th, the XFL kicked off their first major move of the 2023-24 offseason conducting a rookie draft of players who were not drafted in the NFL or UDFA’s of NFL/USFL teams. 80 players were selected this past Friday with more expected to be added to rosters in the coming weeks. The XFL has expanded their teams’ rosters from 51 to 90 in the offseason and have even begun their player showcases as Owner Dany Garcia was seen in Atlanta for the XFL’s HBCU showcase taking place at Clark-Atlanta University.
With only a couple weeks of “vacation”, Head Coach Anthony Becht, DPP Dave Boller, and the rest of the Battlehawks coaching staff got to work as St. Louis welcomed 10 new players to the team. With the Battlehawks already seeing Darius Shepherd, Marcell Ateman, Jaryd Jones-Smith, Hakeem Butler, Lukas Denis, LaCale London and Gary Jennings joining NFL squads the St. Louis coaching staff and personnel depart quickly went to work by adding 10 new players from the college ranks for the 2024 season.
DB, Nico Bolden, New Mexico/Kent State:
Bolden signed with the Carolina Panthers after the 2023 NFL Draft only to be released with an injury designation on May 16th. Bolden started his career at the University of New Mexico (17-20) before playing his last two seasons at Kent State where he led the Golden Flashes with 64 solo tackles in 2022 (2nd-most in the MAC). During his senior season at Kent State Bolden was selected to the 2nd-team All-MAC Defense.
TE, James Bostic III, Vanderbilt/Ohio:
Bostic participated in rookie mini-camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this May after grabbing 21 catches for 434 yards and a touchdown at Ohio in 2022. A 2x Academic All-MAC while working on his Masters in Management, Bostic was a senior Co-Captain at Vanderbilt before transferring to Ohio. Bostic’s father James Bostic Jr. also played professional football spending time with the Rams, Packers, and Eagles of NFL, while also spending a season with the Birmingham Thunderbolts of the XFL 1.0.
LB, Johnny Buchanan, Delaware:
Buchanan was a tackling machine at Delaware where he mentored by future NFL Linebacker Troy Reeder his freshman year. In 2022 Led the FCS with 150 tackles while earning All-CAA First Team and a Buck Buchanan Award finalist. After going undrafted in 2023, Buchanan earned an invitation to try out for the Pittsburgh Steelers however was not signed.
WR, Darion Chafin, Incarnate Word:
Part of a dynamic duo at Incarnate Word with Roughnecks draftee Lindsey Scott Jr., Chafin put together 3 dynamic seasons for the Cardinals being named to the 2022 All-American Third Team, 2022 Southland All-Conference First Team and the 2022 Phil Steele All-America Team. Chafin totaled 2388 yards and 33 TDs over 33 games in college and set a UIW record with 262 receiving yards in one game.
C, Jacob Gall, Buffalo/Baylor:
Gall began his college career at the University of Buffalo before finishing his final two seasons at Baylor. Gall started 40 games at Guard/Center over his college career earning a multitude of accolades in school. In the 2022 season Gall was named the 12th-highest rated center in the country according to grades from Pro Football Focus. Gall was also named the Offensive Lineman of the year in Texas by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football and earned all-conference honors from Pro Football Network, the Big 12 coaches and Phil Steele.
TE, Kemore Gamble, Florida/Central Florida:
Gamble started his college career at Florida playing with NFL talents like Kyle Trask, and Kyle Pitts before transferring to UCF. He would be selected to play in the Hula Bowl Classic after appearing in 11 games for UCF. Gamble recorded seven catches for 118 yards and a touchdown in 2022. In his career he totaled 55 receptions for 750 yards and 8 touchdowns over 31 games.
DL, Matthew Jester, Princeton:
An All-Ivy League selection in 2022, Jester played in every game over his final three seasons at Princeton. He recorded 78 total tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, and 10.5 sacks for the Tigers. After the 2023 NFL draft, Jester received interest from the Los Angeles Rams who even worked him out at Fullback but utlimately did not sign with the team.
RB, Kevon Latulas, Missouri State:
Latulas finished his career with the Bears having carried the ball 144 times for 1,029 yards and six touchdowns. Latulas also caught 39 passes for 458 yards and four touchdowns and was on the All-MVFC Honor Roll. He also participated in the Podyum All-Star Bowl in Miami this past January.
DL, Jadrian Taylor, Kilgore College/University of Texas-El Paso:
Known as “Kamo” by many Taylor had a quick stint with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL before being released on May 17th, Taylor led Conference USA with 9.5 sacks in 2022 and finished with 81 tackles and 16 sacks in two seasons at UTEP. Prior to his time at UTEP, Taylor two season at Kilgore College (JuCo) before playing for the Miners.
DB, Anthony Witherstone, Merrimack:
Witherstone received an invitation to the Kansas City Chiefs rookie mini-camp this spring and signed with the club only to be released earlier this week. Witherstone was a UDFA after making 74 tackles with 19 passes defensed in 35 games at Merrimack. He also had four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
Players who were drafted in the XFL Rookie Draft will be placed on XFL rosters with players who finished the 2023 season on active and reserve lists. XFL teams will hold exclusive rights with the players they select in the draft. Currently the Battlehawks roster sits at 58 players as teams continue to build, with showcases beginning in Atlanta this weekend.
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