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St. Louis Gets Their Guys, Select Ryan Willis and AJ McCarron in Day One of XFL Draft

It’s official, the XFL has players on rosters and the St. Louis Battlehawks have selected two great quarterbacks on day one. As suspected Ryan Willis joins Anthony Becht’s QB room as Mike Mitchell reported in late September and will be joined by the most experienced Quarterback selected so far, former Alabama great AJ McCarron.

We’ve talked about Willis, his time in college (starting over Hendon Hooker at VaTech), and his accolades in the Spring League in 2021. The MVP of Brian Woods’ Spring League joins Becht staff and will be under tutelage of Bruce Gradkowski a former NFL QB with the expectation of leading the Battlehawks and their euthanistic fan base in the Edward Jones Dome in the next couple months.

Willis left The Spring League with 13 Touchdowns and 1680 yards which puts him in the Top-10 of post 2000 Alt-League Football. Willis, is a Kansas kid with Missouri ties who looks to be instrumental in the revival of football coming back to St. Louis.

AJ McCarron is definitely the most intriguing out of the selected XFL QBs on Tuesday mentioned. The most experienced, and maybe accomplished Quarterback in the XFL. McCarron comes to St. Louis via the University of Alabama after a record setting career for the Crimson Tide.

McCarron won Three national championships, named to the All-SEC team, All-American team, in addition to earning the Maxwell, Kellen Moore, and Johnny Unitas awards while in college. McCarron would go onto be drafted by the Bengals in the 5th round of the 2014 NFL draft

McCarron’s NFL career would span Eight seasons for five teams, his most extensive experience came in 2015 where he replaced an injured Andy Dalton leading the Bengals to a 2-1 record, while losing in a tight playoff game against the Steelers during the 2015 playoffs.

McCarron would play out the rest of his rookie contract with the Bengals, only to bounce around the NFL with the Bills, Raiders, Texans, and Falcons. During the 2021 pre-season McCarron would tear his ACL, effectively ending his NFL career for the time being, before being selected by the Battlehawks during Day One of the XFL draft.

McCarron 10 during his time at the University of Alabama

Right now, it’s unclear who will be QB1 come kickoff this February though it is clear that the Battlehawks have two Quarterbacks who are clearly capable to leading the XFL’s favorite franchise. With McCarron and Willis, the Battlehawks gain two Quarterbacks that have succeeded in professional leagues. With Willis’ time in The Spring League and McCarron’s time on playoff teams with the Bengals, the Battlehawks go into 2023 with one of the more experienced Quarterback rooms in the XFL.

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Pat Rifino is a former Security Contractor turned writer. He began his writing career talking about geo-politics, and the defense industry. Now Pat writes about alt-league football, while hanging with his dogs in his off time.

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