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XFL 2024: Houston Roughnecks Add Eight Rookies, Release Fourteen Others

The Houston Roughnecks have kept themselves busy since the conclusion of the rookie draft, saying goodbye to some familiar faces from 2023 and claiming the rights to more young prospects ahead of 2024. The XFL offseason is now in full swing, and it’s clear that the Roughnecks won’t be wasting any time when it comes to roster management. This article will briefly cover the players who were cut, followed by a breakdown of the new additions.


Between June 14th and June 25th, the Roughnecks released fourteen players from their offseason roster. A list of these players is included below. 

LB Ellis Brooks

LB Duke Ejiofor

OT Shaquille Morris

FB Sewo Olonilua

OT James Stanley

DL Trevon Mason (claimed off waivers by Orlando Guardians)

CB John Brannon

WR Cedric Byrd

CB Stephen Denmark

CB Alexander Myres

OT Dylan Pasquali

P Race Porter

WR Ben Putman

CB David Tolentino

While several of these players spent the season on the reserve list or only appeared in a handful of games, there are a couple worth pointing out. One of the more surprising departures would be Cedric Byrd, who finished third on the team in receiving yards (262) behind Travell Harris and Deontay Burnett. Additionally, Race Porter was a key special teams figure who appeared in all 11 games for the Roughnecks. Finally, David Tolentino leaves the squad after becoming known for his appearances on the Player 54 docuseries. Tolentino has been spending time in the Indoor Football League (IFL) with the San Diego Strike Force following the end of Houston’s season. 


Isaiah Bowser, RB, Central Florida

Bowser was a scoring machine during his two years at UCF, finding the endzone a total of 23 times. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact he accomplished this feat in just 21 games. The former Northwestern transfer recently signed with the Buffalo Bills as a UDFA, and is not the first UCF running back to appear on Houston’s roster. Last year, the team drafted Adrian Killins with their first pick, although he would be traded to the Arlington Renegades before the season started. 

Cody Chrest, WR, Sam Houston State

Chrest spent three seasons with the Sam Houston State Bearkats after transferring from Harvard, catching 131 passes for 1,715 yards and 9 touchdowns over that span. His most successful season came in 2021, when he caught 54 passes for 704 yards and 5 touchdowns. Chrest signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a UDFA. 

Christian Ealey, OL, Kentucky Wesleyan

Ealey spent two seasons at Division II Kentucky Wesleyan after transferring from NAIA Kentucky Christian, lining up as an offensive tackle. He becomes the second Roughnecks player with Kentucky Wesleyan ties, as rookie draft pick Alijah McGhee also spent time with the program before transferring to Minnesota State. Most recently, Ealey participated in rookie minicamp with the New York Giants.

Dalton Godfrey, LS, South Dakota

Godfrey spent six seasons playing for the South Dakota Coyotes, becoming a team captain as a senior. Additionally, he earned First-Team All-MVFC (Missouri Valley) and Second-Team All-American honors. Godfrey was invited to two NFL rookie minicamps (Las Vegas Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles), and will likely compete with current long snapper Brian Khoury for a spot in 2024. 

Braydon Johnson, WR, Oklahoma State

Johnson was praised for both his speed and deep-ball abilities coming out of Oklahoma State, recording 15 catches of 40 yards or more over the span of five years. He also saw action on special teams, logging 24 kick returns between the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Johnson signed a UDFA deal with the Buffalo Bills, but was replaced by former St. Louis BattleHawks wideout Marcell Ateman, who ironically played for Oklahoma State as well. 

Destin Mack, DB, The Citadel

Mack finished up a five-year career at The Citadel with 182 total tackles, 20 pass deflections, and 9 interceptions. He appeared in a total of 53 collegiate games and was given Second-Team All-Southern Conference honors in 2021. In addition to his XFL opportunity, Mack was also selected by the Philadelphia Stars in their college rights draft. 

Nelson Mbanasor, DL, Texas State

Mbanasor spent a single season with the Texas State Bobcats after transferring from Texas Tech, where he had played for the previous five years. In that lone season (2022), he recorded 34 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 3 pass deflections, and 2 forced fumbles. Mbanasor was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a UDFA, but was quickly let go to make way for even more additions, one of them being former Roughnecks defensive lineman CJ Brewer. 

Christian Morgan, DB, Baylor 

Morgan finished his career at Baylor having appeared in 56 games, sixth-most by any player in program history. His 2020 and 2022 seasons were the most successful, recording a combined 95 total tackles, 11 pass deflections, and 6 interceptions. Morgan was signed by the Green Bay Packers as a UDFA, and will reunite with former Baylor teammate Raleigh Texada. 

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Football journalist/scout/future coach covering the Houston Roughnecks. Air Raid/Run-and-Shoot enthusiast.

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