Ebene Magazine – The Spring League: Sea Lions 2021 Spring Roster Breakdown


The Spring League continued to release full rosters for their teams on Wednesday, starting with the newly added sea lions. Their week 1 matchup will be played on Friday, May 7th at 9:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. PT against the Blues in Houston, Texas at Rice Stadium and shown on FS1.

Some XFL Fans may recognize Larry Kirksey from his time coaching wide-angle receivers for the Seattle Dragons, but aside from his time in the XFL, he has held various coaching positions across the football world. Prior to joining the Dragons, Kirksey held coaching positions on NFL teams, including wide receiver coach for the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions, and even won a superbowl with the San Francisco 49ers. He also spent time as the assistant head coach at Texas A&M and was the running back coach at Alabama, Pitt, and Florida. Kirksey’s only other opportunity as head coach was for a brief stint at Kentucky State in 1983, where he went 2-7-2 before taking the job with the Gators.

Fitzgerald was to give XFL fans another familiar face, after playing the St. Louis Battlehawks. Although he never saw playing time as starting quarterback because Jordan Ta’amu started all 5 games, he played the ball 2 times for 10 yards. During the BudLight Setlzer celebrations with today’s quarterback Taylor Heinicke from the Washington Football Team, he became better known to the fans.

Wins taste better with SELTZER. Let’s take a look at the @ budlight Seltzer Lounge with @ nickfitz07 & @Taylor_Heinicke! 😂😂 # ClearedToEngage x #ForTheLoveOfFootball pic.twitter.com/lNTfvetaJh

Aside from Fitzgerald’s time as Battlehawk, he’s one of the best-endowed players in Mississippi state history and was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week in 2018 (against Auburn vs. Texas A&M) and 2018 the Davey O’Brien Great 8 QB List (vs. Auburn), 2018 Team Captain, 2018 SEC Academic Honor Roll, 2017 Maxwell Award Semifinalist, 2017 Davey O’Brien Award Semifinalist, 2017 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Finalist, 2017 Maxwell Award National Player of the Week (versus LSU), 2017 Davey O’Brien Award QB of the week (versus LSU), 2017 Manning Award Star of the week (versus LSU), 2017 SEC Offensive Player of the Week (versus LSU, Texas A&M), 2017 SEC Academic Honor Roll, 2016 St. Petersburg Bowl MVP, 2016 Third-Team All-SEC (Phil Steele), 2016 SEC Offensive Player of the Week (versus Texas A&M, at Ole Miss), 2016 Davey O’Brien Great 8 QB List (Texas ACSSEANDCH ARM, at Ole Miss), Manning Award Star of the Week 2016 (against Texas A&M, at Ole Miss), 2016 SEC Academic Honor Roll and 2015 SEC Academic Honor Roll.eval (ez_write_tag ([[250,250], ‘xflnewshub_com-large- Leaderboard-2 ‘,’ ezslot_16 ‘, 130,’ 0 ‘,’ 0 ‘]);

He made a name for himself as a player with a double threat and initially took over quarterback Dak Prescott from Dallas Cowboys. Fitzgerald was a 3 year old starter and finished his college career with 511 degrees for 6,207 yards, 55 touchdowns and 30 interceptions through the air while racing 601 times for 3,607 yards and 46 touchdowns.

After the 2019 NFL Draft, he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an unoccupied free agent and spent most of his time on the training team before being released just months later in October.

Johnson was originally supposed to quarterback Jameis Winston future in Florida, but an off-field incident ended with his firing from the team prior to his first season. In 2016 he played JUCO soccer at East Mississippi Community College, which happened to be featured on the Netflix series « Last Chance U » during his time. He finished the season with a degree of completion of 60.6 percent, a total of 2,645 meters and 26 points in 11 games played. EMCC won the MACJC championship along with the Mississippi State Bowl State Championship. His play and the show’s spotlight enabled him to move to Florida Atlantic.

Former Last Chance U quarterback De’Andre Johnson ran a 4.3u on Florida Atlantic pro day, according to @ReeseFurlowJohnson, he was vacant after finishing college at Texas Southern last season. pic.twitter.com/S54IKEhbpu

He spent his first season with Florida Atlantic Redshirted and later decided during his junior season that he wanted to switch again after not having much success with the new program. Johnson would spend his final 2019 season with the Texas Southern Tigers, where he would fit for 2,093 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions with a 60% completion rate. He would also race the ball 110 times for 180 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Matt Jones is a name that should be known to more than just XFL fans. Jones played well in his stint as the Florida Gator, rushing for 1,431 yards and 11 touchdowns, and receiving 19 receptions for 100 yards and 1 touchdown in 28 games. He would enter the NFL Draft after his junior season and be selected by the Washington Football Team (Then Washington Redskins) with the 95th overall win in the 2015 NFL Draft and sign a 4-year contract with the team. Jones started the 2015 season as a firm return start, but after a knee injury in late 2016, he would lose his playing time to rookie Robert Kelly and Chris Thompson.

eval (ez_write_tag ([[250,250], ‘xflnewshub_com-Leader-2’, ‘ezslot_25’, 133, ‘0’, ‘0’])); On September 2, 2017, Jones was released from Washington and would join the Indianapolis Colt the following off-season, spending most of the year on their training team. He would spend a brief stint with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018 and would later be declared for the draft XFL in October 2019. Jones was selected on draft by the St. Louis Battlehawks and would later be called up to the All-XFL mid-season team after 314 yards and a touchdown, along with 25 receiving yards and one touchdown in the 5 games before the league suspended operations.

A true newcomer to Clemson in 2014, Choice found 6 games of play before having an ACL tear at the end of the season. Redshirt freshman and now the San Francisco 49ers racing back Wayne Gallman would take his starting role for the remainder of the season. Choice was redshirted the following year and served as a reserve from 2016 to 2018, which ran back. He would finish his career with 1,250 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns to 239 carries, along with 22 receptions for 179 yards in 561 snaps in 45 games. Towards the end of his college career, Choice split with Tavien Feaster and Travis Etienne. While it wasn’t the feature back, Choice’s role as a trusted backup shouldn’t be underestimated. Etienne would serve as the starter but only ever dwarfed 20 broadcasts per game twice. Over the past three seasons, Clemson has played an average of 34 run games per game, which has left a lot of detail for reserve backs like Choice.

eval (ez_write_tag ([[300,250], ‘xflnewshub_com-large-mobile-banner-2’, ‘ezslot_24’, 134, ‘0’, ‘0’])); Galloway played his 2017 and 2018 seasons for the University of Tennessee in 22 games, ending his career with 1,399 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns on 308 carries and 50 receptions for 555 yards and 2 touchdowns. Galloway would sign with the Calgary Stampeders and play as an international player in the 2019 CFL season.

Most recently, Galloway spent time in the recently launched fan-controlled football league. Franchised by the Wild Aces, he would complete 7 touchdowns for 313 yards on 46 attempts and 4 receptions for 38 yards in the 6 games of the league.

Jamiel is another familiar face from fan-controlled football who was named a franchisee by the Glacier Boyz during its season. In the 6 games of the FCF he would complete a total of 308 yards and 9 touchdowns at 23 receptions. Before joining FCF, Jamiel was broke and now holds every record reception in his four years at Stonehill College. He played in the Division 2 Senior Bowl at Myrtle Beach and was recognized by the Scouts by making 8 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. Jamiel was being watched by CFL teams and was supposed to have an official pro day but it was canceled due to the pandemic.

Turpin was named a Freshman All-American because he was a kick-returner in all 13 games after his first year. He has received many awards throughout his college career including 2015 247Sports.com True Freshman All-American (All Purpose), 2015 Honorable Mention All-Big 12 (Return Specialist), 2016 Honorable-Mention Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year, 2016 Honorable -Mention All-Big 12-Return Specialist, 2017 Honorable-Mention All-American, SB Nation (KR / PR), 2017 First-Team All-Big 12 (KR / PR), 2017 First-Team AP All-Big 12 (All Zweck ), 2017 Honorable Mention All-Big 12 (WR), 2017 Honorable Mention Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year, along with a fleet of weekly awards. In his 42 games at the TCU, Turpin scored 1,748 yards and 13 touchdowns with 145 catches and 44 rushes at 318 yards and 2 touchdowns. As a threat in the second leg, he reached a total of 1,985 yards and 2 touchdowns on 71 kick returns and 741 yards and 4 touchdowns on 52 punt returns. Turpin would even try 3 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.

Most recently, Turpin was another player who took part in the inaugural season of the FCF. Franchised by the Glacier Boyz, it recorded 223 yards and 4 touchdowns in 13 receptions over the 6-game season.

Rogers was redshirted in his freshman year at Texas A&M in 2016 and played the following 3 seasons with the team. In 38 games, Rogers scored 786 yards and 7 touchdowns from 68 receptions. He put up fantastic numbers against eventual national champions Clemson and the top ten LSU (ten receptions for 183 yards and four touchdowns) and made grand receptions at key moments. He would also catch three two-point conversions against LSU. Rogers signed up for the NFL after his junior year and would sign as an unoccupied free agent for a short stint with the Dallas Cowboys in 2020.

Jelani « AJ » Greene played one season at Nassau Community College where he moved 270 reception areas out of 20 receptions. Greene played his 2018 and 2019 seasons in New Haven, where he recorded 926 yards and 4 touchdowns at 55 receptions in 22 games and flicked 22 yards on 5 tries. He would later earn an MVP of the National Bowl. Greene will be looking for his next opportunity with the sea lions in hopes of getting the Boy Scouts’ attention.

Tommy Lavine played his college ball at Trinity University. He has played 40 games in his college career, completing 32 touchdowns for 32 touchdowns in 193 receptions. He was named All-SAA 1st Team in 2019 and SAA Offensive Player of the Week in 2019.

Tyrrell is from Dorval, Quebec and played college football at Concordia University in Canada. He played a total of 5 seasons for Concordia and from 2018 to 2019; He achieved a total of 1,195 yards and 3 touchdowns at 78 receptions and secured a place in the RSEQ Offensive All-Star Team. He later signed a CFL deal with the Ottawa Redblacks in December 2019 but was never able to field due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Echols-Luper is the son of former TCU running backs trainer, now Missouri running backs trainer, Curtis Luper. He began his college career at TCU, but later moved to the state of Arkansas, where he had to sit out for the 2015 season. He would play with Arkansas for the 2016 season and finish his college career in Western Kentucky. He would finish his career in 45 games and collect 81 receptions for 973 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Robinson is one of the more unique players on the list just because he didn’t play football at all in college. The Jamaican native grew up playing cricket, rugby, and soccer and was part of the track and field team but didn’t even know the rules of soccer until he moved to the United States for his junior high school year. He played wide receiver while in school but chose to play basketball in college. After his time in college and despite not playing soccer, he managed to sign a futures / reserve contract with the Houston Texans, but it was cut in September 2018. He later spent time with the AAF San Antonio Commanders and was featured in an XFL showcase in 2019. With many of the NFL’s top tight ends playing basketball in high school and / or college, Robinson is also trying to make the transition to accomplish.

Repp is another interesting candidate for TSL who played both a close and a defensive end in college. He started his first year on a tight end but switched to the defensive end for his sophomore and sophomore years. Repp would go back to a tight end for his senior year after moving to Utah. He would finish his college career in 49 games, a total of 480 yards and 4 touchdowns from 38 receptions. He signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an unoccupied free agent in 2020, but was canceled before the season began.

Wilkerson is another close ending / defensive ending that played at Edward Waters College. Offensively, he had 19 catches for 293 yards and 4 touchdowns while on defense he recorded 25 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one interception. In August 2020, Wilkerson worked with the Jacksonville Jaguars but remained a free agent. In April 2021, he participated in HUB, a development product specifically designed to bring professional street free agents soccer players to their next professional soccer goal.

Murphy is another basketball player working on transitioning to soccer. He played basketball in high school and Indiana State, and then played his final season of athletic aptitude for the Memphis soccer program. He struggled to find roles as both an offensive tackle and a defensive end, but will focus on the O-Line in the Spring League.

Daronte Shaw played college ball at Texas A&M – Commerce and stepped in his two seasons in seven games. In 2017 he was a member of the National Championship and in 2018 he blocked for one of the top scoring offenses in the LSC. At this point, Shaw is a Spring League veteran who attended the TSL Showcase in Denver and was part of the team that beat Japan in March 2020. Shaw will continue his stint with the Sea Lions.

Gooseberry was a 3 year old starter at Ouachita after receiving a Redshirt in 2015. In 2016 and 2017 he started 22 games and received the Honorable Mention All-Great American Conference. In 2018, he received All-American Honors from both the Division II Conference Commissioners Association (first team) and the American Football Coaches Association (second team). He helped cement an offensive line that became one of the nation’s most common crimes, averaging 277.6 meters per game. In 2019 Gooseberry would move to Rice, where he would receive the All-Conference USA award and be selected as one of the best linemen in the country for the College Gridiron All-Star Showcase. He would be spending a short stint with the Atlanta Falcons in 2020.

Buchanan has experience across the offensive line and has given Kyle Trask plenty of time for the Gators to become the 16th offense in the country. Buchanan played 27 games and started most of them in the middle position.

Wilson was a Junior Walk-On Reserve at USC. Originally a quarterback at USC, he would skip to a tight end but will now attempt to move onto the offensive line. His reception stats have never been too exciting, but he has a background as a blocker as his father, a former offensive lineman, taught him the basics of blocking when he was young. It should also be noted that he spent time at the New Orleans Saints NFL mini-camp in 2016.

Young has experience as an offensive guard and center and was part of an offensive unit that Ke’Shwan Vaugn made the team’s sixth return to race over 1,000 meters. He is another former FCF player who has joined the Sea Lions as part of the Dam Nation offensive line. Young also participated in the 2020 Spring Leagues Fall season as a member of the Conquerors.

Williams is a defender from Saginaw Valley State. He has played 43 games in his college career and completed a total of 135 tackles, 22.5 sacks, 39.5 tackles against loss, 2 forced fiddles, 2 fumble restorations, 2 pass deviations and 1 blocked field goal. Williams has received many awards throughout his college career, including First-Team All-GLIAC Honors, Second-Team All-American Awarded by D2Football.com, GLIAC Defensive Lineman Awarded 2019.

Jenkins is a defensive end to the Shepherd University. He played 47 games with Shepherd and had a total of 100 tackles, 41.5 tackles against loss and 27 sacks. Jenkins received All-MEC Honors in both 2014 and 2015 and was named MEC Defensive Player of the Year (2015). He signed with the Denver Broncos as an unoccupied free agent in 2016 and spent the next few seasons in and out of various practice groups. In 2019 he signed with the Ottawa Redblacks and appeared in three games for the team. He ended his short CFL stint with four tackles and one forced fumble.

Reaves is a weak defensive end for USF. He began his college football career as a walk-on and earned a scholarship prior to the 2017 season. He played in a total of 45 games and started 37 of them in a row (30 as defensive end and 7 as linebacker) and ended his career with 212 tackles, 30.5 tackles against loss, 8.5 sacks, 6 pass deviations, 3 fiddly restores, 1 forced fumbling and 1 interception. He would also help lead the Bulls to 3 bowl games, including 2 wins against Power 5 opponents in the Birmingham Bowls in 2016 and 2017, and the top 14 tackles of his career in the Gasparilla Bowl in 2018.

Pono Davis played a total of 38 games for the SMU, where he completed a total of 78 tackles, 10 tackles against the loss, 4 sacks and 1 forced fumbling. After his senior season, Pono received an invitation to the Hula Bowl and was named the All-Academic Team of the American Athletic Conference. He would go as an undrafted free agent in 2020, and his first pro-day would be canceled because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which would leave him without a signature.

Originally a 4-star recruit from high school in 2017, Graves can play linebacker or defensive end and originally chose Ole Miss before ultimately hitting the JUCO route. He had an impressive 2 years with Iowa Western and was known as the number one JUCO prospect at the time, according to Rivals.com. He finished his college career with 22 games, a total of 118 tackles, 7 sacks, 29.5 tackles for loss, 4 forced fiddles, 2 fumble restores, 1 interception, and 3 passing deviations. After his stay at JUCO, he received offers from Alabama, Ole Miss and Miami. Instead, he gave up his last two years of college admission and signed a contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL. Graves was released by the Roughriders in July 2019.

Guest is a linebacker and defensive end, his career at Florida International with a total of 71 tackles, 4.5 tackles against loss, 2 sacks, 1 passing deviation, 1 forced fumble and Finished 1 fumble recovery in 45 games. Guest has been captain of the Tampa Bay Tornadoes arena leagues since leaving college.

Jeff McCulloch is a 4-year-old linebacker who has played a total of 46 games, including 10 for Texas. He ended his career with 94 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception, 3 pass diversions, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery. McCulloch is invited to compete in the 2016 Under Armor All-America Game and Nike Opening 2015.

Webster was an all-country first-team selection as a senior in high after a 24-sack season School. He began his college career at Glennville State College and moved to Southern Illinois University for his senior year in 2017. As a sophomore, he collected 6 sacks and 25 tackles and had 3 sacks in 3 games as a Redshirt junior before an injury ended his season prematurely. In 2019, Webster would spend time in the AAF with the Salt Lake Stallions and compete in the XFL’s Tampa Bay Summer Show.

In 2019, Cherry played in all 12 games for the University of Tennessee – Martin collected a total of 83 tackles, 9 tackles against defeat, 4 sacks, 6 passing deviations, 1 forced fumble and 1 blocked field goal. Cherry last played in the FCF in 2021 as part of the “Heavy Hitters” defensive unit.

Choice was a senior Redshirt who played in the state of Jacksonville. He played 48 games, starting in 21 of them, and a total of 192 tackles with 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 touchdown (interception), 1 forced fiddling and 1 deviation from the pass. He was named to the second team’s All-OVC Defense Team and participated in both the 2019 FSC Bowl and the 2020 Tropical Bowl.

Taylor is an FSU alum who is number 1 in the country’s cornerback with 247 sports was. He was a consensus 5 star prospect and ranked number 5 nationwide on ESPN300. While dealing with injuries, he was still able to make an all-out freshman in 12 games for FSU. He finished his college career in 35 games and accumulated a total of 90 tackles, 5.5 tackles against loss, 1 sack, 4 interceptions, 1 touchdown (interception return), 10 pass distractions and one forced fumble. Taylor also gained some security experience and started 5 games in this position in his senior year. Under the 2020 NFL draft, he would sign as an unoccupied free agent with the LA Rams, but was ousted from the team in August 2020.

Williams has experience as both free security and cornerback. He played college ball at Colorado State University-Pueblo, where he set the record for the second most frequent interceptions of all time at 17. He ended his 50-game college career with a total of 178 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 17 interceptions, 58 pass distractions, 3 forced fiddles, 2 fumble returns, and 6 touchdowns (intercept returns). Williams was very honored in college, receiving the All-American First Team Defense, the Don Hansen All-American Honorable Mention, the Don Hanson All-Super Region Four Second Team Defense, the All-RMAC First Team Defense, the All-NFFCC First Team Defense and the Preseason All -RMAC and NFFCC Player of the Week after a pick-six and a fiddly recovery from a playoff win at Mines. Williams was later elected to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. Under the 2019 NFL draft, he would sign as an unoccupied free agent with the New Orleans Saints but was overturned in May.

Step Durham played cornerback at Georgia Tech from 2014 to 2017. In the course of his career he had a total of 76 tackles, 1 tackle against loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 12 pass deviations and 2 fiddly restores. Durham became known as one of the top corners in the ACC during its 2017 senior season. He signed as a vacant free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs but suffered a hip injury and never had a chance to play games in any preseason. He wasn’t expected to stay in the squad, but he spent the entire 2018 season in the injured reserve with a hip problem. In April 2019, Durham was overturned by the Chiefs.

Torneden is a Kansas safety and was a 3 year old starter in the team’s high school. In 46 games he scored a total of 233 tackles, 15 tackles against loss, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble and 3 fumble restorations. During his college career, he was named Semi-Finalist of the Jason Witten Man of the Year Award, Honorable Mention All-Big 12, Third Team All-Big 12, and Top Rated Safety of the Big 12 in 2019 according to the PFF Draft. Under the 2020 NFL draft, he would receive calls from the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers, but only try it out for the Kansas City Chiefs. Torneden would not remain signed, however.

Tyson Graham Jr is a South Dakota state security officer who may be familiar to XFL and AAF fans. After Graham finished his college career with a total of 228 tackles, 7 tackles against loss, 3 sacks, 5 interceptions, 16 pass diversions, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery over 32 games, he spent the 2017 preseason with the Indianapolis Colts . He would spend the remainder of the 2017 NFL season on and off training teams. Graham suspended the 2018 NFL season before deciding to attend the 2018 TSL Showcase. After the showcase, he spent a brief stint with the Atlanta Falcons in 2019 and later tried out the Pittsburgh Steelers before signing with the Atlanta Legends in the AAF. After the AAF he signed with the Seattle Dragons, where he completed a total of 8 tackles in the 5 games. In 2020, Graham signed with The Spring League’s Conquerors for their fall season.

Dawkins had nowhere near the easiest road to success. The cornerback and security were homeless in high school and slept and showered in the locker room while keeping his situation a secret from friends and coaches. Finally, he sat down with his coaches to explain his situation and they, along with his friends on the team, went out of their way to help. Dawkins would end up going to Bluefield College and for the 2018 season a total of 28 tackles, 10 passing deviations, 1 interception, 3 fiddly restores, and 1 forced fumble. He has received invitations to the National Bowl & Podyum All-Star Bowl.

A self-proclaimed « Noble Lord of Kicksteros », John Baron II is a kicker and punter from San Diego State University. He finished his college career with 135 out of 137 extra points and 50 out of 60 field goals for a total of 285 points. Baron signed with the Chicago Bears in April 2019 as part of an 8-man kicking competition at the team’s training camp. Baron was released by the bears in May 2019.

Lawson played two seasons for Georgia Military College at the JUCO level, where he was named Special Teams Player of the Week in his sophomore year. That season, he achieved a 100 percent accuracy rate on PAT, FG, and punt snaps. Lawson would also get a perfect rating for extra point deliveries and a 99 percent rating for punt snaps as a newbie. After his sophomore season at GMC, Lawson moved to East Carolina University, where he helped ECU rank 12th nationally and 1st place in field goals per game at the American Athletic Conference (1.58). He officially became the Guinness World Record holder in December 2017 when he snatched a 39.96-meter soccer ball at the Northeastern High School Athletic Complex in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Lawson played for the Jousters in the Spring Leagues’ Fall 2020 season.

Matt Lyons was born in Seattle, WA and grew up outside of Scottsdale, AZ. He has been a passionate football fan since his youth. After posting a few articles in magazines and business journals in early 2020, he shifted his focus to the soccer world and now covers the Seattle Dragons and XFL League news for XFL News Hub.

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The Spring League: Sea Lions 2021 Spring Roster Breakdown

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