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St Louis BattleHawks

QB Nick Fitzgerald Joins XFL’s St Louis Battlehawks

The St. Louis Battlehawks have added another QB to their already crowded and talented QB room. Nick Fitzgerald, formerly of Mississippi State and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been signed by the St. Louis Battlehawks according to the team’s Twitter feed Sunday.

Fitzgerald was a three-year starter down at Mississippi State where he ran for more than 1000 years in his sophomore and senior years and 984 his junior year. In addition to gaining huge chunks of yardage on the ground, he added more than 13 TDs on the ground each year. Although sometimes limited as a passer, Fitzgerald is a dual-threat QB who gained more than 2000 yards through the air during his sophomore year as well according to Sports Reference.

After going undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft, Fitzgerald spent the preseason with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he recorded no statistics during the preseason. After being cut in late August, he spent time with the Bucs practice squad until his October release. Despite a late-season tryout with an injury depleted Houston Texans team, he did not catch on there.

Fitzgerald steps into a crowded quarterback competition in St. Louis where he will try to provide a stronger dual-threat option than any option presently on the St. Louis roster. Head Coach Jonathan Hayes and offensive coordinator Chuck Long will have a difficult decision facing them as they head into their remaining training camp to decide who will guide this talented and potentially explosive offense.

Fellow QB Jordan Ta’amu was a more prolific passer during his time at cross-state rival Ole Miss, throwing for nearly 4000 yards as a senior. However, Ta’amu did not have success across multiple years as Fitzgerald did, nor is he the physically bruising runner that Fitzgerald is. Former Eastern Michigan QB Brogan Roback was an overnight sensation for his Hard Knocks exploits with the Cleveland Browns in 2018 and even saw some preseason success completing 50% of his passes for 152 yards and a touchdown over two games. Roback also spent time in the 2019 preseason with the Pittsburgh Steelers but did not accumulate any statistics. 

The last member of the QB room may be the most seasoned, Taylor Heinicke has bounced around the NFL since leaving Old Dominion in 2015. He has recorded game action with the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers. It was with Carolina in 2018 that he started his first and only NFL game, and completed 61.4% of his passes for 320 yards, 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions over the course of 6 games. 

Heinicke is the most experienced option for the Battlehawks, and if his on-camera exploits are any indicator, Roback has the charisma to be a leader on and off the field. They both present pros with some NFL experience, but the more talented options may be Ta’Amu or Fitzgerald. Ta’amu was a prolific passer throughout his senior year at Ole Miss and should be capable of getting the ball into the hands of playmakers like NFL veteran Terrance Williams and AAF standouts L’Damian Washington and Demornay Pierson-El.

*Stats taken from foxsports.com, pro-football-reference.com, and sports-reference.com

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