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17 former MAC football players named to initial XFL rosters

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The modern rebirth of the XFL will include a handful of MAC talent on every roster in 2020.

XFL: DEC 16 Tampa Bay Vipers Mini-Camp Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The XFL, once Exhibit A for what not to do when establishing a minor sports league, is back and seems positioned to be a legitimate complimentery football league to the NFL.

The league, made up of former NFL, CFL and collegiate players, is set to make its debut a week after the Super Bowl. All eight teams have been in training camps over the past month in preparation, as they par their rosters down to an initial offering.

Of the eight teams in the league, all of them have at least one former MAC football player listed, with New York Guardians (4) offering the most, while the Los Angeles Wildcats and Houston Roughnecks (1 each) had the least.

Not every MAC school was represented; Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Ball State and Miami did not land a single prospect on any of the eight XFL rosters.

In total, 17 former MAC footballers from eight schools were on the rosters announced on Monday afternoon.

We’ll list the players here by university below, with collegiate career stats, accolades and where they last played professional football. (All stats courtesy of Sports Reference.)


Akron:

  • CB Bryce Jones, New York Guardians: 51 tackles, nine passes defensed in two seasons (13 games) at Akron; former graduate transfer from Boston College. Was part of Houston Texans practice squad for parts of two seasons.
  • OT Isaiah Williams, Tampa Bay Vipers: converted from defensive lineman to offensive lineman in junior season. 33 games (21 starts) at right tackle and guard, third-team all-MAC in 2015. Last played professionally for the Atlanta Legends (AAF) in 2019.

Buffalo:

  • QB Tyree Jackson, DC Defenders: 533-955 for 6,999 yards, 49 touchdowns and 24 interceptions; 201 rushes, 757 yards, 16 rushing touchdowns in three seasons at Buffalo. Named MAC Offensive Player of the Year, MAC Most Valuable Player of the Year and all-MAC first team QB (all in 2018.) Last played professionally for the Buffalo Bills in 2019.
  • C James O’Hagan, DC Defenders: Started every game of his career at center, named to Rimington Award Watch List from 2016-2018. Third-team all-MAC (2016, 2017) and first-team all-MAC (2018.) Last played professionally for the New York Giants in 2018.
  • OT John Kling, New York Guardians: 34 games (29 starts) for Buffalo at tackle. Last played professionally with the Atlanta Legends (AAF) in 2019.
  • P/H Jake Schum, Tampa Bay Vipers: 119 punts for 4,610 yards, 38.7 yards per punt on average in two seasons at Buffalo. Last played professionally with the Green Bay Packers in 2016.

Bowling Green:

  • WR Teo Redding, New York Guardians: 94 receptions, 1,328 yards, 14 touchdowns in four years at BGSU; second-team all-MAC in 2017. Last played professionally for the Green Bay Packers in 2019.

Eastern Michigan:

  • WR Sergio Bailey, Seattle Dragons: 114 receptions for 1,746 yards and 16 touchdowns in two seasons at EMU; third-team all-MAC in 2016. Last played professionally for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018.
  • LB Ike Spearman, Tampa Bay Vipers: 179 tackles, 10 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery in four seasons at EMU. Last played professionally for the Birmingham Iron (AAF) in 2019.

Kent State:

  • RB Nick Holley, Hoston Roughnecks: 389 rushes, 1,776 yards, 14 touchdowns; 47 receptions, 380 receiving yards, five touchdowns in four seasons at Kent State. Played RB, WR and QB as a Flash. Last played professionally for the Los Angeles Rams in 2018.

Ohio:

  • DE Casey Sayles, St. Louis BattleHawks: 110 tackles, 19.5 tackles-for-loss, 11.5 sacks, six passes defensed, three forced fumbles in four seasons at Ohio. Last played professionally for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019.

Toledo:

  • OT Storm Norton, LA Wildcats: 46 games (29 starts) in four seasons at tackle for Toledo; named to all-MAC first team (2015 and 2016.) Last played professionally for the Minnesota Vikings in 2018.
  • OT Brant Weiss, New York Guardians: 36 games (19) in three seasons at Toledo; first-team all-MAC in 2017. Last played professionally with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018.
  • WR Alonzo Russell, St. Louis BattleHawks: 202 receptions, 3,076 yards, 24 touchdowns in four seasons as a Rocket. Three-time all-MAC third-team selection (2012-2014.) Last played professionally with the New York Giants.

Western Michigan:

  • OG John Keenoy, Dallas Renegades: 63 starts in 63 games played; a four-year starter at tackle with WMU. Named first-team all-MAC in 2017, second-team all-MAC in 2016, 2018. Last played professionally with the Minnesota Vikings in 2019.
  • OT Willie Beavers, Dallas Renegades: 40 starts in 46 games played in four seasons at WMU (three as a starter.) Named first-team all-MAC in 2015, second-team all-MAC in 2014. Last played professionally with the San Francisco 49ers in 2019.
  • LB Asantay Brown, Dallas Renegades: 309 tackles, 18 tackles-for-loss, 6.5 sacks, six interceptions (one pick-six), ten passes defensed, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries in four seasons as a Bronco between safety and linebacker. Second-team all-MAC in 2016, third-team all-MAC (2015, 2017.) Last played professionally for the Philadephia Eagles in 2018.
  • TE Donnie Ernsberger, DC Defenders: 45 receptions, 528 yards, five touchdowns in four seasons as a Bronco (three as a tight end.) Second-team all-MAC selection in 2018, third-team all-MAC in 2017. Last played professionally for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.